Yep, that’s me in the old photo, on stage early in my “speaker” career, sharing “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” with the Jostens’ management team in 1997. Mustache and all. Being verbal; having fun!
What Seemed to Be My Weakness
During these COVID-19 days, my wife and I have been doing what many have been doing: cleaning, sorting, and remembering the past.
Browsing my 7th-grade yearbook from Dewitt Junior High in Ithaca, NY, we re-discovered something about me:
I’m not only extremely verbal now …
I always have been.
There is a strong theme in hastily scribbled 1971 comments by classmates and teachers:
“To a real loudmouth”
“Biggest mouth I’ve ever heard”
“You are a champion talker”
“The best talker I have ever had in my class”
These yearbook comments don’t begin to cover other events in my youth, like this 6th-grade moment:
As Mrs. Ross — who must’ve been 100-years-old in 1970 — was leading our class down the hall from the art room to our homeroom, she was extremely angry with the boys.
Just the boys.
This did not sit well with me. So, I chose to speak up:
“What do you think the girls are? Perfect little angels who just floated down from Heaven?!?”
Mrs. Ross responded: “John Miller—has anyone ever told you that you are insolent?!”
What happened next was Mrs. Ross handed me the classroom dictionary to look up the word “insolent.”
Just a few years later, I called my 9th-grade German teacher a really bad word (rhymes with “witch”) to her face. Moments later, I was a speeding bullet aimed straight at the principal’s office
Weaknesses Can Be Strengths
What does all this mean? Well …
- People can grow up. I did. Mostly. ?
- When channeled properly, what is seemingly a weakness can become a strength.
- A career that uses our natural abilities makes life fun!
Clearly, a highly verbal and <somewhat defensive> assertive risk-taker like me can succeed in life when he “finds his niche.” Little did I know what my niche would be when I left Cornell University in 1980 for an 8-5 duller-than-I-could-imagine corporate desk job. However, five years later, a colleague said, “You know what, John, you should get into sales.”
So, at 27-years-old, when I was hired to SELL and TRAIN, I discovered my verbal and vocational niche. A decade later, emerging as a professional SPEAKER was a natural step for me—and a perfect fit for my, ahem, God-given verbosity. ?
Is Your “Work” Fun?
Once my inborn abilities became aligned with my income-generating-activity — call it a job or a career — I have not “worked” a day since.
Simply put, it has all been too much fun to call it work.
Question: Have you aligned your natural gifts, talents, and abilities with your professional career? If not, it’s never too late — to have some fun.
Share your thoughts!
You make it sound easy. It’s very difficult to get over the risk, fear of failure etc…
Jen, thanks for sharing. Yes, we’re all different, for sure. Keep striving and growing!