Let’s be honest.
The “X factor” as a talent-related concept is mostly total bunk. But the one small part of it that isn’t is the tiny sliver where your grit, passion & perseverance outlast whatever, whomever you or your work is being compared to in that moment, project, battle.
If you live your life, excel in your career, outperform all expectations that those without an “X factor” are expected to achieve… All with a little voice in the back of your head forcing you to face the fact you haven’t reached your limit… Then, my dear, highly capable friend, my tortured ambitious soul, my over-achieving career twin… That is the rare sign few ever receive, comprehend and certainly never take action on.
You will be different.
We are all called to do more in our lives, to push ourselves every inch of the painful, terrifying way until we bump up squarely against the razor sharp edge of our potential – whether that be as a spouse, a parent, an employee, a friend or a business leader.
The voices are growing louder these days, they speak up more often, and the razor sharp edge seems to be harder and harder to find.
Sometimes it fades into the darkness of a room filled with 75 executives, sometimes it fades as an idea you are passionate about gets pummeled over and over again because the timing still isn’t quite right… And sometimes it just freaking fades. Full stop. No explanation.
But what is always consistently true is that the lamest possible thing one can do is complain when the voices have good reason to grow louder. Instead, it’s my job – the only one that truly matters – to take action.
Sometimes that means flipping over the table where my professional place card sits today.
Other times that means accepting an invitation to a different table, with different voices and different challenges worthy of applying that same religious conviction, worthy of pouring your body of work into solving for a time with reckless, passionate abandon.
And sometimes, the most difficult move is the one that requires you sit still and do nothing in that moment. Patience is the X factor in that case that a rare few exercise when it counts. And often that is the hardest lesson of professional maturity one can learn – how to sit.
I do all three imperfectly, every time. But I’m so very grateful I still hear the voices, that they’re getting louder, and that I still feel called to invest in something greater, in people more important than anything I could ever attempt or accomplish on my own.
I have a soft spot for those crazy voices, and the potential hope they whisper into each of our psyches about what calling we’ve yet to fulfill.
Always embrace the voices, the crazy, the calling… The X no one can ever define or duplicate… The magical grit & lightning in a bottle we were given to define our legacy.
All my love and professional crazy,