At primary school, I was in a class of 40. For the most part, I excelled. I was top of the class academically – in those days you were told your position out of 40! – and captained both the football and cricket teams.
There was only one area where I struggled: singing.
I remember that, ahead of a local music festival, we had an audition for the school choir. Everyone in the class had to sing a verse from Scarborough Fair to the teacher.
At the end of the process, 39 children from my class had been invited to join the choir and take part in the competition. Only one pupil missed out. And so, instead of singing with the rest of the class, I got to do some extra maths with Mrs Brown.
Since then I’ve been acutely aware that I can’t sing. That’s why I’m intrigued by a new TV series called Anyone Can Sing. The show takes a group of non-singers and, through the support of some top vocal coaches, helps them to hit the right notes and sing in public.
The lesson from this show – and others like it – is that very few of us fully realise the scale of our capabilities. In the past, I’ve worked with some shy, diffident people who have become brilliant CEOs of major corporations. It’s been great to see how they have built their skills and self-confidence to be able to take on such demanding roles.
From my own experience of building a consulting business over the past 15 years, I’ve found that there are two critical success factors to fully developing and exploiting your skills: (1) Finding the right people to support you, and (2) having the willingness to try new stuff and, potentially, fail.
What are the skills and capabilities that you want to improve and develop? And what steps are you taking to make that happen?
As for me, I’m off to watch Anyone Can Sing and get inspired, but I’m going to make sure I watch it with my wife. Because she really can’t sing!
Off The Record: Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and wine
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mineTraditional English ballad