Many “doers” seem to know instinctively what their own unique talent is. What’s yours? It’s important to understand your own unique talent and embrace it. It is important to recognize how incredible and awesome you are and use your unique talents each day. Let me explain…
Recently I had the great fortune of having breakfast with a young man named Thad who inspired me in many ways. His story is much more than a business success story. His story fired me up and reminded me that we all have unique talents that make us special.
Thad is a “doer.” He realized early on that he was a people person and that he could load a truck with skateboards and drive from San Diego to San Francisco and sell every last one of them in just a few days. He loved doing it and smiled through a thick beard as he told the story. It gave me chills. I immediately thought, “This dude knows who he is.” It was so fabulous to be with someone that is not trying to be someone else, who is just comfortable in their own skin. YEAH!
He went on to tell me how he eventually ended up working at Nestlé. I admit I was a little surprised, but he said a senior-level executive at Nestlé kept trying to recruit him. He said the exec offered him training and said he would teach him how companies and businesses worked. After a hauling a few more loads of skateboards sold to every surf shop on the West Coast and a lot of pondering, yep! Thad left San Diego and went into the Corporate Abyss of Nestlé in Glendale, California.
As Thad explained it to me, he didn’t have to work all the 3rd shift &^%$ jobs to get the experience he needed to “become a Nestlé corporate man.” In fact, Thad is the perfect example of the “cork analogy,” which is always be cork because no matter how much others push you down, you will always pop up. And that is exactly what Thad did with one twist that comes back to knowing that you are incredible, extraordinary and awesome. No matter who you are, no matter what environment you are in (even in one of the stodgiest of old-line legacy businesses like Nestlé) find your unique talent and leverage that to success.
What was that twist? Drum roll please…
Thad realized that Nestlé didn’t have anyone calling on the Latino markets that where popping up all over Los Angeles. Thad had enjoyed learning Spanish in college, so I think you see where this is going. Thad took his experience selling to surf shops, brushed up on his Spanish and went into the markets where no Nestlé Corporate man had ever ventured.
He sold NesCafe, KitKats, and Instant Breakfast by the truckload to these markets. He didn’t conform to the existing corporate culture in anyway, but with sales like that, he knew no one was going to say anything. He even got them to eliminate the typical promotions structure and let him distribute the promotional money his way. For someone like myself, that has been in this environment for a long time, that is an absolutely remarkable story. Thad was able to grow his business from nothing to 500 million in revenue. Incredible! Oh, my!
What’s also absolutely incredible and inspiring about this story is what Thad didn’t do, Which can be just as important. He didn’t waste energy doing things he wasn’t good at. Thad was not good at sitting in an office or doing typical reporting and he stayed true to himself the entire time he was at Nestlé.
Today he runs several successful businesses but is still building on his strengths. Through the Nestlé experience he became a retail expert in merchandising and now the third chapter of Thad’s work life will definitely include a new way for retailers to think about merchandising Yep! I can see it coming.
Thad inspired me and I hope his story inspires you to think about your incredible and extraordinary unique talents. Those qualities that make you AWESOME, because you absolutely are incredible and extraordinary and somewhere, someplace, your unique talents are necessary for success––both yours and someone else’s.
Take a moment to think about what you are really good at, really comfortable with, and enjoy doing. What makes you smile every time you do it? As you start to get that feeling, you can savor it and think about feeling that all the time, no matter what you are doing. Yes, life can be like that when you recognize what your unique talents and strengths are and build on them.