I was recently chatting with a friend about various things going on in their life. They shared with me a frustration regarding a workplace issue. As I listened, the true problem wasn’t in the issue at work at all; it was in their perspective and lack of self awareness. They didn’t have a workplace problem, they had an ignorance problem.

I began to reflect on that conversation for some time. It was truly a universal issue for many of us. We all have one area or another in which we have a greater insight, knowledge, or perspective than others may have. This area is natural for us and we put nearly no effort into the brilliance we have of it. It is what we collectively and generically label as a gift or talent.

Sometimes it is so natural for us that we unconsciously assume that it is “common sense” – which, quite honestly, isn’t very common most of the time – and it should just be something understood of how one is to do life, work, or whatever. So, we go through life developing and filtering things through this assumption.

Because little to no effort was exerted to gain this insight, knowledge, or perspective we can quickly become frustrated with others when they just don’t seem to “get it”. As I coach my clients in areas such as leadership, confidence, happiness, or relationships one of the most common things that come up is frustration at people just “not paying attention” to what is important.

Importance is usually a priority issue that is influenced by one’s perspective. If your perspective is different from those with whom you are working, speaking, or doing life then you can and would be well advised to expect varying priorities. The result of this is a continuum of what is important and why.
It’s vitally important that you are keenly aware of what is a natural talent or gift for you that may be something which others strive to achieve the same level of aptitude in the same area. If you take the time and effort to do this, you will quickly find that people are less defensive. They will become more likely to open up to you as well.

What can be easily overlooked is when you are unaware of this it almost always comes across as condescension. It’s as if you’re saying, “What! You haven’t figured this out yet?!” I know that’s not what you mean and you know that’s not what you mean, but the other person doesn’t understand that. Being ignorant of this only serves to make others feel judged and marginalized by you…however unintentional it may be.

If you’re not sure of what area(s) this may be in your life, think of the various compliments or praise you have received and you just couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. That is a great indicator that it is a talent. Also, is there an area in which you constantly encounter frustration? Take a bit of time and look for a personal talent or gift in there and you may be surprised at how gracious you will become with others.

None of us live in a bubble, so being self reflective and self aware is ridiculously important to being a quality leader. Your future will be colored by your willingness to find the areas in which you can improve your clarity and leadership skills. You’ve gotten this far and life is never static, so keep moving forward and chasing the improvements that guide you to your goals, dreams, and passions!