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Healthy Mind

I Can Do It Better…From the Sidelines

September 20, 2013

The company I work for does something called a “Lunch and Learn” once a month or so.  This month’s presenter was an investment banker. His niche? He made long term investing approachable and easier to understand. His presentation was full of metaphors based on how he was raised and his parent’s rules of the house, turned into lessons in investing. Most of which were generic enough to apply to the average American’s upbringing – shut the door behind you, no TV at dinner, don’t be a know-it-all, etc. Overall, I think he did a good job. I learned a couple of tips. His presentation slides were simple and impactful. I was mildly entertained. And I respected him for putting a twist on a subject as dry as an IRA. Hell, this guy has taken something he knows like the back of his hand and simply re-packaged it with colorful wrapping paper and a sparkly bow. Now he sells it to companies, organizations and individuals who are eager to learn more about investing at a time when a retirement fund has become more important than ever. It’s a genius business plan with a low investment, and possibly, a high return. But, the whole time I kept thinking…

I can do this better.

No, not a presentation on investing. What I think I could do better is the approach: take something boring and make it interesting, memorable and entertaining.

I have always enjoyed public speaking. I love the thrill of people watching me, and me watching them crack a smile after I’ve said something funny. This quality, I’ve come to understand, is uncommon. Most “regular” people (i.e. not actors, models, the majority of the Los Angeles population) do not like being in the spotlight.

I have a quality that is in low supply, and therefore, in high demand (thanks for that one Mr. Investment Banker). No, people aren’t necessarily seeking out public speakers. But if you make a compelling enough presentation that stands out and leaves an impression, you could become in demand.

My experience and natural abilities, I believe, would make me just as good (if not better) at the type of presentation that Mr. Investment Banker has created. The difference is, Mr. Investment Banker actually did it. And that’s a huge difference.

I can sit here all day and talk about all of the jobs that I can do better – from the sidelines. But am I actually doing them? Would I really do better if I was in the situation? Am I taking a huge jump with my career and investing my time and money into a venture that could potentially fail? No.

We all have qualities we excel at that don’t come as easily to the average Joe. We know what they are, and we love the situations in which we can show those skills off (90’s movie references! Anyone?). So why is it only a select few that realize that skills can be lucrative if you actually put them to use?