You’re better than talented if you’re being this…

This week I was paid my favorite compliment – twice!!


I was called “brilliant” (sigh).  It makes my heart melt every time I hear that word.  For me it’s the ultimate hitting of the “making a difference” target.


These compliments happened shortly after someone (brilliantly) shared a quote with me about the difference between talent and brilliance.


Once again for me it proves true that when we have clarity about something (like the distinction between talent and brilliance in my case), we begin to expertly notice opportunities to practice – and therefore, experience – the thing we have clarity about.  The power of clarity is real.  But I digress – let’s get back on track…


The quote is…


“Talent hits a target no one else can hit.  Genius hits a target no one else can see”.  Arthur Schopenhauer


Ok – I remember it as “brilliance hits a target no one else can see” – but rightfully quoted, it’s “genius…”.  Both words in the dictionary are defined as “rare forms of intelligence” and most people use the terms synonymously – so let’s not get hung up on technicalities – the point is….


… the quote implies that to truly make a difference, you have to not only hit a target others don’t yet see – but it must also be one that they value more than the one they aimed for in the first place.  It’s about being more than inspiring – it’s about exceeding another’s expectations by creating a possibility they never even imagined.  A possibility to make a bigger difference for another, a cause, or audience they care about helping to advance.


My first incident of being called “brilliant” was from a former client who asked me to help her document her career story for a book she decided to write.  I’ve never ghost written for another before in this way (and I certainly saw this request as outside of the scope of my usual responsibilities to my clients).  But because I care so much for my clients and their aspirations, I offered to draft an outline for her of what I thought she should include in her career story.  This turned into a suggested outline structure for her entire book plus a more concise title and a subtitle for her book – she was thrilled and I was so happy to help her and her audience. 


The other time I was called “brilliant” this week was from my husband – I offered him an idea about how easily clean something he thought would be impossible to keep clean.  Boring I know – but he called me “brilliant” and anytime you hear that word from your spouse that’s 10x the joy than hearing it in a work setting (it’s a way harder target to hit – married people – am I right here?)


Another example of the power of hitting targets others can’t see…


I love to share the story of a time earlier in my husband’s career when he was a graphic designer and was asked to select pictures to be hung in a new space for the company he worked for.  At first he was peeved – it wasn’t his job – it felt like a slap in the face – no one there “understood his value” or what he “did” – he wasn’t an interior decorator or an office operations professional.  When he told me this I asked him “what’s possible from this – no one is looking – what would an artistic design professional do instead of hang some pictures you found in storage or bought off of”


So he hit a target no one else could see – he created industry award-winning environmental art that educated people about the history of the company.  It got noticed by the CEO and was commissioned to be implemented in several of their corporate locations.  It ignited opportunities that eventually moved him from a graphic designer to head of an international corporate function, numerous industry awards and recognition, and a seat on his industry national board – he got all that because he cared to demonstrate the true power of design – beyond aesthetics alone (not because he wanted something for himself).


That’s the thing about true brilliance – it’s selfless.  It’s moved by something bigger than what’s in it for you alone.


So welcome back to work after what was hopefully a relaxing and fun summer…


Now how can you be brilliant?  How can you take something someone asks of you to a new level of possibility – one that exceeds anything they ever initially imagined?


Here’s a hint of when you have the opportunity to be brilliant


…the request will probably initially piss you off or make you say “I don’t do that” (because you may not see what’s in it for you).  But ask yourself – “What’s in it for another, a cause, or an audience I care about helping to advance?”


Best wishes for being “brilliant” this fall season and beyond!

About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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