Memories of Awe Episode 30

As Liz began to reflect on her own future and what she wanted to do for a career, she discovered a talent she never realized she had. Her interviews with Professor McKown were an oral history. She never thought of that as a talent she might have. The interviews with Professor McKown were nurturing that talent. She decided that she would probe the emergence of talent as another dimension of moral beauty.

LJ: Over the past week, I’ve begun to realize that I enjoy what is referred to as oral history. You have been nurturing that talent. That got me to thinking about the development and nurturing of one’s talent as moral beauty. Do you have a story to share with me on this?

KMcK:  I do. Cathy had been a student of mine in several classes. She was a good student but very quiet. When I did her advising appointment, she would rarely talk or open up to me. That’s why I was surprised when she signed up for my Team Facilitation class.

LJ: What do you cover in that class?

KMcK:  It’s a technical elective. Students are placed into teams to solve problems using approaches they have learned in previous courses. One student is the facilitator for the group problem-solving discussions. Every student has to facilitate twice. We also develop students’ training skills, and they had to teach material to their teammates.

LJI can see why that would be a tough course for Cathy. How did she do?

KMcK:  During the discussions, she rarely said anything. When it came time to facilitate, I’ve never seen a better performance. In fact, she was better than professional facilitators I’ve encountered.

When it came to the training part of the class, she was amazing. In fact, she was the best I’ve ever seen.

LJ: That’s amazing. How do you explain her transformation?

KMcK:  I saw myself in Cathy. I don’t like to talk in group settings. I’m fine like we are talking now, but I rarely say much when I’m in a larger group. I also have social anxiety. There’s a difference between your social self and your professional self. I love being in front of my 200-student freshman classes. Cathy was the same way.

LJ: When you saw that side of Cathy, what did you do?

KMcK:  We began to discuss how she could best use her talent. As it often happens, I had a call from one of our alumni who had a need for someone with Cathy’s talents. She got the job.

LJ: Somehow I have the feeling there’s a rest of the story coming.

KMcK:  There is. Cathy’s talent was quickly recognized company-wide. This was a company you know very well for the products they produce. She was often asked to facilitate meetings of senior executives.

She has now taken that talent and has had an amazing career based on her ability to get people to open up to her.

LJ: I’m beginning to see how discovering and nurturing talent is a form of moral beauty.

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“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

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