Brianna Hopkins was excited to talk with Henry Jacobs in her continuing series of talent discussions. This session she wanted to focus on multiple talents – how they are discovered and developed but also how to transition one’s focus from one talent to another one.
BH: When I began this project on discovery and developing one’s talent, I guess I thought that everyone would have a talent waiting to materialize. Now I realize that people don’t just have one talent, but many talents. How do those additional talents emerge?
HJ: Let me ask you a question. You are now 20 years into your career, what have you done that has given you the greatest joy?
BH: That first story I had published was a time of great joy. The awards I’ve won have been joyful, but that joy didn’t last long. But as I’m thinking of your question, the joy that has sustained me has been the success of Lydia Bowfort.
HJ: I remember when I asked you to mentor Lydia. You were doubtful that you could help, but you agreed to do what you could. Now she is a best-selling author of novels about purposeful living.
BH: When I read each novel, I think of the conversations we had and how I see some of those conversations appearing in her book. I can’t begin to tell you how that makes me feel.
HJ: Let me ask you another question. You are wearing glasses now. How long did it take you to realize you needed them?
BH: Funny you should ask. It took a long time. I guess eyesight just gradually declines, or I was in denial. But there came a time when I knew I needed to get glasses.
HJ: Talent is like that. It creeps up on you over time. There comes a time when you realize that you have begun to fall in love with a new talent.
BH: How do you know it’s time for your new talent to become the focus of your life?
HJ: It comes from reflection on what gives you joy. Your original talent will eventually exhaust the joy it provides. That’s when you let your new talent take over.
BH: I’m sensing a personal message in what you are telling me. Are you saying that my new talent is emerging?
HJ: I am. You have a real talent of helping others discover and nurture their talent.
BH: Is that why you have been having me write these stories for these interviews?
HJ: It is. I want you to become my successor. I’m not done yet, but I want to have a plan to sustain this foundation.
BH: I’m flabbergasted! You’ve had this in mind for some time haven’t you? Of course, you’re the talent whisperer. I’m flattered that you would think of me as your successor, but am I ready?
HJ: I don’t know, but you will know. What I want you to do now is to write stories on some of the foundation’s alumni. That will give you a sense of what it takes. I have a list of alumni for you to contact. I’m sure they will be happy to share their stories.
BH: Once again, you’ve reversed the interview and made it about me.
HJ: That’s one of the keys to your future leadership in the foundation. See you soon.
* * *
“Life is an endless process of self-discovery.” – John Gardner (author)