Do we each have a unique ‘area of brilliance’? It’s an idea that’s widespread in the entrepreneurship world (only do what you’re good at…) and I’ve wondered if it is the case for how we express ourselves as well.
I was 5 when I asked to take my first ballet class, 6 when I joined a circus school. Since then I’ve done ballet, modern jazz, contemporary, physical theatre & Alexanders technique, gymnastics, yoga, Sunday Sweats, 5 Rhythm, rock’n’ roll and salsa, pole dancing, and tango obviously.
Anything with movement involved, you name it I’m likely to have tried once. I’m in. Every time I do, I love it. And, strangely, I feel very good at it.
Somehow, I feel very talented at Movement. It does not mean I need not work hard to get better, but I learn fast, and this is something I love doing.
And I am saying that… humbly.
Because if you take me off movement, and into the world of arts, drawing, design…. you’ve lost me.
I am incredibly bad at it. I absolutely suck at it.In fact, I stand out for how colossally crap I am.
Take my drawing classes, for example.
For a few months, some years ago, I wanted to learn how to draw.
We’d meet up on a Thursday night in a dimly-lit Paris studio to draw a naked model – somehow I’d decided I’d start with naked people, thinking it’d be more fun than vases and pots (it is).
I tried hard. Applied myself, bent over my board, eyes 2 cm away from the paper, tongue out.
Impossible to get anything right.
Every line on the paper was wrong. My naked models ended up with high bums, tiny thighs, one leg smaller than the other….
I could even sense the desperation from my teacher who despite his best efforts, just couldn’t manage to teach me anything. He’d sit with me, trying to resist the urge to take my pencil and correct my drawing with every mark I made on the paper.
But I stuck with it.
Until one day I saw the bewilderment in his eyes after looking at my drawing and thought: Well, this is not as cool as dancing, anyway.
My partner at the time was the opposite.
A super talented designer, with a knack for drawing and taking beautiful pictures.
For him, putting things on paper visually was super easy. Museums were a pure pleasure (for me, a bore…). Pictures were a fun way to be in the moment (for me, a distraction from what’s happening right now).
However, as I kept nagging him to go the gym, take a dance class, Find a Sport You Love and move for G’s sake, I was amazed at how he resisted.
Movement was absolutely not his thing: the way drawing, or taking pics, or anything visual is not my thing.
It feels ‘anti-natural’.
So it all seemed to make sense, back then.
I’m naturally comfortable with moving on music, which means that any dance or movement-based class is going to be a fun experience.
He’s naturally comfortable with expressing himself visually so that even if he has his preferred medium, anything involving drawing, 2D-design, pictures, etc… feels joyful to him.
After we broke up, I kind of went through life with this idea that we each have an ‘area of brilliance’, or comfort. And that it’s ok to not try and be in the areas you feel uncomfortable in.
Until I started speaking up this idea and met people who said…
That’s not true: I’m a very good dance and I draw.
Or I take pictures all the time and I’m a Zumba instructor.
Still, accepting that I have areas of brilliance, and others where I am just not talented or comfortable, has been a great help to simplify my life and love myself more.
So I’m curious to know:
Do you have one area of brilliance, or do you feel talented across many different skills?
This doesn’t mean you don’t need to work to become better, but at least you feel like your body is ‘in its element’ when you are practicing.
Leave a comment and let me know.
As always, thank you for reading and sharing.
With much love,