Sing Loud, Sing Proud – But Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Every now and then, I think about the day I went in for brain surgery. Minor surgery, the doctor assured me. I’m not sure if that was genuine reassurance or his assessment of my intellect. I still remember him coming into pre-op and telling me, “I just did the same surgery on another patient.” He didn’t say if that patient was still alive. Still, it beats, “I slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

That said, I still looked around the operating room before they put me to sleep to make sure there wasn’t a YouTube video playing or a copy of Brain Surgery for Dummies on the table. There are certain times in life where experience beats a good notebook, and that was one of those times.

There’s an old saying among race car drivers – run what you brung. Basically, what it means is if you were able to get the car to the track in one piece and all four wheels are still attached, get out there and drive it just as fast as you possibly can. Fender falling off? Duct tape. Cracked windshield? Duct tape. Leaky fuel tank? Duct tape. I’m joking. You need Silly Putty for that.

But the message is pretty clear. We all come into the game each day with a certain set of assets. They may be inherent talents, things we’ve learned over the years, big muscles, or the ability to outrun people with big muscles. Regardless, those assets are what we have to work with. And when our abilities come up a little short – duct tape. Fake it till you make it. Get the job done.

I’ve always been pretty handy with tools, and there’s not much I’m afraid to tackle. That doesn’t mean I really know what I’m doing, but nine times out of ten I can get the job done right. My wife knows this, which is why she insists I test drive the car after I replace her brakes. Besides, she knows I’ll hide all those “spare parts” before she can see them.

What’s so hard about using tools? Well, give my brother a screwdriver and hammer and then just stand back. Way back. And be sure whatever he’s fixing will fit in the trash can when he’s done. My dad has patiently worked with him over the years, and he’s now reasonably safe with a screwdriver and a set of wrenches. But hammers are still a big no-no.

That doesn’t make him any less a man. It just means he’s not the person you want working on your own brakes. There are things he can do that I’d never be able to do as well. And that doesn’t make me any less a man. Okay, it makes me feel a little inferior, but then I look in my toolbox and realize I can identify 90% of what’s in there, and I feel pretty smug.

If you’ve ever watched any of the talent shows on TV, you’ve undoubtedly seen some people who are truly gifted and others who are truly clueless. Some are destined for stardom, and others are destined for Burger King. “Would you like fries with that?” And the only difference between them is the realization of their natural talent, and what they choose to do with it.

I wish I could sing. So does the choir director. But that’s not my strongest talent. I wish I could hit a golf ball in a straight line. So do the people living alongside the golf course. Again, it’s not my strong suit. That doesn’t stop me from singing or playing golf. It just means I have to keep my day job and be the best at that. Run what you brung. It’s more intelligent than it sounds.

In his book Put Your Dream to the Test, John Maxwell writes, “When you build on your strengths, the activities using those strengths come more easily to you.” That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to expand our strengths, but recognizing and optimizing our strengths is the more realistic path to achieving our dreams.

Find what you’re good at and do it better than anybody else. You have a unique combination of talents that nobody else has and, for that very reason, nobody else can put those talents to use quite as well as you can. Match your dreams to your talents, and success is pretty much yours to claim.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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