A great lesson from the playbook of Method Teaming© courtesy of Hollywood. In X-Men Apocalypse Michael Fassbender plays Magneto who has supernatural powers (Spoiler Alert: the following describes some scenes from the film).
For years, Fassbender’s character has been trying to deny his true self and live out his life as an ordinary mortal working in a factory. His real talents frightened him. He pushed them away. But they are revealed in all their fullness in a grisly scene that leaves a ring of ketchup-splattered bodies lying all around him. In desperation he looks up at the sky and rails at the Heavens, shouting “Is this what I am?”
He can no longer hide from himself. He is forced to take on his true superpower persona and face the usual moral and ethical struggles that burden all mankind.
But his question has significance for the vast majority of us. If you are lucky enough to be one of the 20% of people whose career role is a close match for their underlying talents, stop reading now. But if you are among the 80% (Source: Deloitte Shift Index) who are in a job that has but a passing acquaintance with your natural aptitudes, this is for you.
“Is this what I am?”
All of us have a powerful persona within us. If we fail to discover it and spend our ‘10,000 hours’ (Source: Malcolm Gladwell) becoming competent in an area that is not naturally ours, we can still make a living at it. But what if we are still miserable? Where is the triumph in that?
If, instead, we can discover our real talent and spend our 10,000 hours becoming an expert at the thing we love doing, then our lives are fulfilled in a way they could not be otherwise. Our employers and our families will benefit enormously too.
Fassbender’s Magneto character eventually joins the right team and plays his part in a successful battle. The team’s victory is only achieved because each member plays to their own individual strengths, not anyone else’s.
Yes, it’s Hollywood. But if life is ever imitated in art, this film affirms the principle that it is only by discovering our real talent that we find a life worth living and a successful career worthy of the name.
If you are a manager, your team almost certainly contains some of the ‘80%’. Consider, for a moment, the cost to your business of carrying people who don’t really want to be there. Then consider the productivity and engagement you will achieve when you help your staff find their true talents. You’ll know you’ve reached your goal when each one of your employees describes their job to their friends and says, “This is what I am.”