Mine Your Inner Treasure

Spending a year with uncle Al, taught me many life lessons. My uncle was a lapidarist; he cut and sold precious stones for a living. My first stone buying outing with him opened my eyes to some key lessons which relate to what I do as a talent discovery coach.

THE TREASURE IS IN THE GROUND, WHETHER YOU MINE IT OR NOT.

The fields that were mined for precious stones used to be farmland, and had been in the families of the local miners for ages. The current generation of miners like their fathers, got up everyday to dig the ground using their rudimentary tools. Most days, they found nothing of worth; but they were up the next day digging for treasure. Why? Because, they knew their were precious stones in the ground. They did not put it there, but it was there. Their job was to keep digging each day to unearth what was already there.

The same is true with our talents; we did not put them their. We were born with them. Our part is to discover them and put them to use. I have had people tell me they do not believe everyone was born with talent. They reason that if that were true, we would all excel in our fields. Well, just like I can't explain how the precious stones in the ground got there, I am unable to explain how certain abilities are hardwired into us while still in the womb. My job is not to debate the source but to facilitate the discovery and development.

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THE RAW TREASURE NEVER LOOKS LIKE THE FINISHED PRODUCT

The first raw stone I saw was an emerald, and it was ugly. It was not what I had imagined. It looked like a piece of rock with some green coloration on it. My uncle being the expert, saw the look on my face and chuckled. "Not what you see in the movies eh?" I was expecting to see bright colored stones. It takes a process to get there.

My uncle bought the ugly rocks from the local miners and over the next 2 months extracted the beautiful stones from the ugly rocks. He would sit with a special eyepiece on, observing the rock, and chipping at it gently with a very small hammer with a pointed edge. His strikes were hard but carefully done with precision. After days of chipping at the different pieces, the selected ones would go cutting, sanding, grinding, more cutting and finally polishing. The final product, which looked like what I expected, were smaller and weighed less than the rocks from which they were cut. They also cost about 10 - 20 times more. Why? In their raw state, they had potential. But in their finished state, they realized their value.

The same thing happens with our talents; in their raw state, we are average. But when we nurture and develop them, we can make a world of difference. Discovering your talent points to your potential. Developing it is where you realize the value. I have always enjoyed speaking (found out it was one of my talents.) The raw speaking ability meant I was comfortable speaking to and in front of people. It did not mean I was competent. In fact, I was very comfortably incompetent. Things changes after I joined Toastmasters, and started working to develop my natural communication ability. It has taken years, and I'm still developing, but I now reap the value of having this ability. Many years ago, I would not have paid myself to speak. Today, I get paid quite a bit to use this ability.

As a talent discovery coach, my mantra is that "we are how we are, for why we are." You are how you are, for why you are. Most people want to discover their why without first uncovering their how. Your "how" is on your inside, and your "why" in on the outside. Discover your talents and abilities, and you'll discover what you should do with them to serve mankind (your why.)

Mine your field; there are treasures awaiting you!

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