As a professional motivational speaker who worked in talent development for many years, I’ve seen this picture many times. Up until 16 January 2018, many South Africans had never even heard of 21 year old Lungi Ngidi. In his debut cricket Test against India – he produced an astonishing man-of-the-match performance with figures of 6/39, helping the Proteas to a 2-0 series victory with a match still remaining.
Many newspapers and online sites carried his story, with a headline nicely captured, “a star is born”. It was a great headline and a great story but the truth is that the star was not born that day; it was just exposed to the world on that day. Lungi knew he was a great bowler. Scouts in the South African cricket team knew he was a great bowler but he had to go through what I call the pain of preparation, which is what every talented person goes through. I think Lungi knew he was talented. I mean the guy bowls at 140km/h and above, and appears to be similarly comfortable opening the bowling or cleaning up the tail. He has obviously watched other people who are probably less talented than him playing and was probably frustrated but at the right time, he comes and does that on his Test cricket debut, wow!
It is possible that you are where Lungi Ngidi was. You are talented but frustrated. You are talented but concealed. I say this in conferences all the time; your talent cannot be ignored or hidden forever. Cream, poured in a cup of coffee, will inevitably and eventually rise to the top. We all go through the pain of preparation. Sometimes you dread Monday mornings because you don’t get the recognition you feel you deserve. You need to keep working hard where you are because your time is coming. You might be thinking, yea Siphiwe, you are a professional motivational speaker, you are just encouraging me right now but this is not just motivation, it is a principle. “The longer you put in without getting out, the greater will be your return when it finally comes” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Keep serving. Keep doing the job that no one else wants to do. Your turn to be served will come. You may be in obscurity now and you feel people take credit for your work. This is fine; it’s the law of sowing and reaping. You will be glad you served.“I’m always amazed how overnight successes take a helluva long time” Steve Jobs. When things start happening for you, some will call it “overnight success”. They are not there now when you are grinding hard alone, in obscurity. No one knows you. No one acknowledges you but a time is coming, when they will ask, “where did she come from”. A time will come when your gift/talent will be in high demand. A lot will be expected from you then. Keep going.
Siphiwe Moyo’s is a professional motivational speaker. His specialty is organisational behaviour – how human beings function within organisational settings. He applies behavioural science principles and practices in organisation to increase individual and organisational effectiveness.