When playing to your strengths, anything is possible.
I recently started a choir that I am conducting. I had a hankering to sing some high-quality choral music, so I looked to pull some folks together. Sounded great at the time, but once 21 people said they’d join, I suddenly remembered I had not studied music or conducted anything in some 20 years.
Of course, I steamrolled ahead and did what I could to prepare for the first rehearsal. It went incredibly well, and three rehearsals in I can say that we’re well on our way to a wonderful performance.
As I look at where I am though, I realize that my ability to lead this ensemble does not come from what is left of my musical ability, it’s coming from some other place. From the first downbeat of the first rehearsal, conducting felt the way a great presentation, or workshop or team meeting feels.
Over the years I’ve cultivated a strength in leading groups. Some of this ability is —a talent—but a big part of it had to be cultivated. Today I see that comfort with people makes “leadership”—standing in front of a group, guiding them toward a shared vision, cultivating harmony—easier for me than it could be.
I’ve found a good balance of seriousness and fun with confidence and humility, and learned how to read a room quite well. These are the strengths I called upon to lead this very different setting from the one I am used to and it’s working.
And you? What are your core strengths, and how can they be leveraged for something new?