One of the most miserable times in my life was while I was completing my MBA. There was plenty of drama happening in my personal life. I was discovering that I was not at all suited to be a property manager. I was finding the job search depressing and demotivating. And, worst of all, I hated a lot of the classes I was taking. It felt like everything in my life was such a struggle. Most of the things I touched seem to turn to disaster. I was having trouble seeing through the clouds.
I did learn some pretty important lessons from that experience. But one of the lessons I learned really just clicked for me last weekend at the Engage Today event. It clicked for me when Jay Niblick, author of What’s Your Genius? stood on stage explaining the results of a massive research study he undertook. This study involved surveys of 200,000 people, a bunch of PHD researchers, and 7 years. The study was all about success and the natural talents that successful people possess.
Jay explained in detail about how much time, effort and the abundance of resources that went into this elaborate study – all in pursuit of a correlation between natural talents and success. In other words, he wanted to understand if most successful people possess great organization skills, or a talent for leadership or a gift of communication.
At the end of the seven years, when all the results were tallied and the conclusion was in he discovered that there is absolutely no correlation between natural talents and success. None. Not a single correlation existed. Bad news for him – given that he invested so much into finding the correlation. But the bad news for him, at the time, is actually GREAT news for us.
This means that ANYBODY can succeed no matter what gifts or talents you were born with. ANYBODY CAN SUCCEED. It’s not what you’ve got that matters, it’s what you do with it.
He went on to explain that the big difference between successful people and the rest of the people was simply that successful people understood what their natural talents were and utilized them. In other words, they didn’t try to be good at things they weren’t naturally talented at. They adjusted the role they were in to suit their talents and didn’t try to adjust their talents to suit the role they were in.
Suddenly so much of my MBA misery made complete sense to me.
I struggle with numbers. I do not have a natural talent when it comes to math, statistics or finance. I used to joke with people about my undergraduate degree in business, telling them that I loved Calculus, Stats and Accounting so much I took those courses twice. The reality was that I was failing them the first time so I had to go back and do them again.
I was good at any courses that revolved around communication like marketing and organizational behaviour. If the course required a report, a presentation or even just reading, learning and regurgitating I was almost always assured a B+ or better. If I had to include numbers, I had to work really hard to get a B.
So when I decided to pursue my MBA in real estate, I chose finance as a second major. I wanted to be a well rounded business person. And I know that the numbers side of the business and of real estate deals are critical.
But math doesn’t come easy to me. I scored highly in math in school and even the second time around in University because I put a ton of effort and determination into my math work. During my MBA I didn’t have the same focused determination to get through the finance classes. I just wanted to learn what I could and get through. If it weren’t for the fact that I had quite possibly the smartest math mind in our class in my group (seriously Dariusz – I would never have survived if it weren’t for you), and group work accounted for 50% of my grade, I would still be trying to finish my MBA nearly a decade later.
I wasn’t really doing myself any favours by studying finance in school, but I was smart enough to know that I just couldn’t stomach being an analyst when I graduated even though that was the best paying job opportunity available to me in real estate upon graduation.
I should have been studying writing, marketing, and communication in school. These are some things I have natural talents in. They are also things I love to do.
So sitting there listening to Jay NiblickI realized that it’s a wonderful thing that Dave and I are partners. He is marvelous with numbers. I decide in 60 seconds whether a property is a good deal or not, and then he runs the numbers to make sure I’m right. He also prepares the joint venture presentations and packages for the lenders so we’re not trying to sell our deals by saying:
I just have a good feeling about this one.
Because, maybe the odd person out there would put $50,000 down on a gut feeling I have, but most people are a little more rational than that and want to understand what their investment will give them in return … thank goodness for Dave because he takes care of that (and loves doing it too!) so I don’t have to.
Meanwhile I worry about finding tenants for the property which involves marketing and communications!
What we’re doing today is moving in the right direction towards what Jay Niblick was teaching and if you do the same you’ll find that you can do a lot more in a day with less time. Specifically what you have to do is:
Make your success dependent on your natural talents. Fix the role you are in to fit your natural talents – which is turning right (see image at the start of the article). Don’t try to fix YOU to be successful in the role (which is turning left).
You’re not broken. Fix the role, don’t try to fix yourself.
Do this, and you’ll find you’ll love what you’re doing so much more and you’ll also find the great gift of increased productivity with fewer hours.
And for crying out loud – if you’re a student trying to choose your major in University – pick something you have a talent for and develop that natural talent!! Do yourself a favour and give yourself strengths you can depend on!
And if you’re not sure what your natural talents are – it’s definitely time to find out.http://www.whatsyourgenius.com/should help you get started.