Right now it is storming outside and my dog is going nuts. Trying to wriggle under the desk when thunder booms, scurrying into the bathroom shower stall when lightning flashes, running between me and the door as if to blame me for the rain. She’s gotten eccentric as she has gotten older, not that she was ever a normal dog to begin with, and I seem to have no talent for soothing her. Nor do I have any website editing talent and cannot figure out the mystery of robot.txt files, how to download wordpress themes properly, or why the search term “Mexico” never hits my website when all my books to date are set in that country and the word is splashed all over my pages.

Micro vs Macro

I could choose to bemoan the fact that I am wholly without talent today. Or I could see the situation as a temporary lack of “micro-talents” and remember that I still possess the “macro-talents” that will allow me to achieve my own definition of successful. You have these macro-talents, too. It’s just a matter of reminding ourselves now and then what they are:

The power to listen powerfully

We can all harness our attention and focus on one thing. Good politicians often look as if they are doing this when talking to Anderson Cooper or Wolf Blitzer and I suppose they are. This means listening with your full attention, making sure the other person knows you are listening and responding to what you have heard. Powerful listening forms a bond.

The ability to persevere

Winston Churchill said it best: “Never, ever, ever quit.” If attaining a certain goal is important to you, simply keep at it. Find a way to go around obstacles. Ignore the doubtful noises and simply keep at it. Churchill had to save the British Empire. Chances are your goals are more manageable.

 A creative streak

No one is wholly without creativity. But we often think of creativity in a narrow way. Someone is creative if they are a painter, a ballet dancer, a poet. Expand that to include the mom who finds an original way to stop her toddler’s meltdown, the teacher who gets a class discussion going, the homeowner who fixed their own toilet. There is a big element of creativity in attaining small goals that should never be discounted.

The ability to see the opposite point of view

In her book FINDING YOUR WAY IN A WILD NEW WORLD, Martha Beck talks about the power of examining opposites. I can say that today I hate rain but what possibilities open up if I say I love rain? My thoughts go in an entirely different direction—I like the green of Central America’s rainy season, the rain will bring cooler temperatures, and a lunatic dog that thinks I have the power to stop rain is sort of heartwarming. Huh. The dynamic of my day just changed for the better.

The recognition of priorities

We prioritize every day. Food, clothing, work, school, caregiving. We prioritize without even thinking about it. Taking it to the next level is more conscious and should begin with a list. Write down 3 things to get done today that are related to a goal. Get them done and you will have harnessed that macro-talent you didn’t know you had.


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Mystery and thriller author. Retired Central Intelligence Agency intel officer. Dog mom to Hazel and Dutch. Recovering Italian handbag addict.


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