You can tell from my profile I work in the world of talent management. You know, the talent management that helps companies find, cultivate and keep their best.
At least that that’s what most companies say they want. There is a lot of lip service in the world of talent management. I have lots to say about that — but that’s for another day.
Today I want to focus on your talent as the reader. Do you think you have any? What are you doing with what you have? Are you acting as your own talent manager?
In answer to the last question, here’s what I’ve discovered about most people — they aren’t. In fact most people I know are on lock down.
I discovered this when I started conducting creative and innovative thinking workshops through-out North America. For some 15 years, workshop after workshop, I discovered how most people are not only on lock down, many are shut down — emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even physically.
My findings: The most unique and interesting parts of ourselves, where the essence of talent resides, is on lock down.
My workshops seek to “loosen” people up, to unlock what’s been locked up — for years, probably since childhood. That’s when the jail cell door had not yet been closed, but started to. And for many, the key was thrown away.
I help people find the key, unlock the cell and gently, safely coax them out — freeing the essence of their uniqueness to blossom into full uninhibited expression like a flower softly unfolding as it’s enveloped in soothing, nurturing rays of sunlight.
I help people free themselves from lock down. It’s a pervasive syndrome in our society.
In my work, I’ve discovered the primary reason for lock down is fear of disapproval; because for many the core of who they are is so dissimilar to their surroundings and therefore not good, useful or needed. At least, that’s what they’ve been conditioned to believe.
You see, it all began when you where young…when you started to become aware of yourself in relation to the people around you — and they became aware of you.
In the beginning, you were….well …you.
But people began reacting and responding to you — giving you information about yourself in relation to them. Whatever information you received — you received and with nothing to compare it to, you took it as only you could — truth… and not knowing any better… it became your truth.
Life continued to happen and all experiences were filtered through that truth…and you adjusted accordingly. Those adjustments continued to lock you into place and that became the you — the you presented to the world.
Not necessarily the “inside you” mind you, but the approved, adjusted you. The you that conformed to those early accepted truths, whether they were true or not. The lock down had begun…and it continued.
Until one day you sat in a class or a meeting and you were asked to express yourself — to have a voice, to share your perspective, to make an authentic and original statement. “Come on,” someone encouragingly prodded, “we need some creative ideas — we need your creative ideas.”
If you were in my workshop, that would be me advocating for your release, hoping to free you from years of confinement knowing that I don’t have the key, but helping you find your key. You see, you’ve had it all along.
Here would be my message — unlock yourself. “With what key?”, you ask. The key of self acceptance — all of yourself, exactly yourself. We all are on a journey of self acceptance and self discovery — whether we’re aware of it or not. Life presents us this free opportunity. Are we using it?
Here’s the dilemma. That journey intersections with the compelling need for creative thinking and innovation and our personal and societal struggle with differences and diversity.
On one hand we say, “Be different, we need different, we celebrate different, we’re desperate for different. Different will make us more money, will solve our problems, cure our human ills.”
On the other hand, we think and feel, “Wait a minute, your different is making me feel uncomfortable. Your different is strange to me. I’m not sure we want your different. I prefer comfort over different. Can you be sorta different, but still mostly be like us?”
In essence what they really want…is for you to stay on lock down. But you say, “Oh no I won’t!”
I say give them what they need — they need the fully free, real you —though they may not know it and for many they don’t.
Don’t let them stop you! You grab that key, unlock your cell, discover and dust off the barely recognizable parts of you and begin to tune in, so you can turn on and tune up all that talent, so that ultimately you can turn out all of you and the best of you!
“Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, you’re free at last.” Now that is true talent management!