Show #426: The Talented-Person Blind Spot – with Roy H. Williams

Show #426: The Talented-Person Blind Spot – with Roy H. Williams

You have talent, and you’re probably somewhat blind to it. You minimize your talent and yourself, which makes you…normal, according to Roy H. Williams. On September 18, 2016, Roy sent out his weekly “Monday Morning Memo” and within moments of reading it, Ziglar Show host Kevin Miller contacted Roy’s camp and requested an interview as soon as possible. Days later it happened. Along with the topic at hand, they also took some majestic detours into personal and business branding, what humility actually is, and Roy’s take on following your passions. Thank you to ZipRecruiter for supporting this episode!

Hi, everyone, this is Kevin Miller, host of the Ziglar Show, where we are here for one reason…to inspire your true performance. We all want to achieve certain things. What we have will be dependent upon what we do, day in and day out. Our society voraciously consumes info on what and how to do things. But to really be able to do the right things, Zig tells us…we have to first…BE the right person. That’s what we discuss in today’s show and all shows…how to be…better, different.

Our guest today is Roy H. Williams, world renowned as The Wizard of Ads. His article this past week, “The Talented-Person Blind Spot,” was just…tremendous. It is going to nail a lot of you, as it did me. And I think…shed some freeing light on a primary handicap many of us have. Though we also take some majestic detours into personal and business branding, what humility actually is, my fave definition so far, and as you heard in the intro, Roy’s take on following your passions.

If you’re not aware of Roy H. Williams…again, he puts out a weekly “Monday Morning Memo.” Find it at Again, it’s the only written or audio publication I’ve ever read, every time it comes out, for…as long as I can remember. It’s amazing insight on humanity and what truly appeals to us.

He has a compound in Austin, Texas, that is more magical kingdom and shire than business. But there he hosts some of the most profound business gatherings on the planet. His bio says…

“A lifelong student of humanity, Roy H. Williams has spent a quarter-century asking, “What makes people do the things they do?” And he’s been using the things he’s learned to stimulate miraculous growth for his small business clients for more than 25 years.

“His books and Monday Morning Memos are a constant source of fascination and entertainment for his students and friends around the globe. His first book, The Wizard of Ads®, was voted Business Book of the Year in 1998. His second book, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads, was named the Wall Street Journal’s number one Business Book in America in 1999 and became a New York Times bestseller. The third book in the trilogy, Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads reached bestseller status again in late 2001. His fascinating fourth book, Accidental Magic, is a tightly-condensed anthology of writing tips and insights, mixed with artistic examples provided by 106 of his amazing protégés. The Wizard’s first fiction book, Destinae, is a powerful allegory aimed directly at the heart of the reader.

“With forty branch offices in the US, Canada, and Australia, Wizard of Ads®, Inc., is now serving the advertising and marketing needs of business owners
around the globe.” Then it says, “Our fees are tied to your growth. The only way for us to make more money is to increase the size of your business.”

So…to this article I received earlier this week. We are going to drill down into it, raw and candidly, with Roy himself. To set the stage, here is Roy…reading it! Five and a half minutes…then we’ll reconvene.


Now, then…here is my interview with Roy:

So, Roy, I greatly limit the amount of input I take in on a daily and weekly basis. I don’t subscribe to many blogs, podcasts, or newsletters. In all truth and admission, your weekly article is the only publication of any sort I read 100% of the time, without fail. I’m grateful and, actually, as a fellow writer, creator, and striving purveyor of truth and insight…a bit envious of your art! Thank you for honoring us with this interview on such short notice!

>>Hear Roy’s welcoming response on the program.

So, let me set the stage here, why I grabbed onto your topic here. One of my dearest friends on Planet Earth is also one of my business partners. I had an epiphany not long ago, and shared it with him…as I discerned he felt the same way. Even with our literal, tangible, proven, irrefutable skills, abilities, and successes, there is a core truth that we always feel a bit like…frauds. That was my terminology. We’ve been discussing this reality for a few months. Then, this past Monday, I received your article from your Monday Morning Memo…everyone, please, again, I impeach and implore you…let some light shine into your life and go subscribe now at Roy, I first want to ask…what prompted you to write this article now? What was the catalyst?

> >Hear Roy’s response on the show.

Everyone just heard you read this article, now I want to dig in:

You lead off with…
I’m betting you’re extremely good at something, perhaps at more than just one thing.

Do you think most people actually believe this at the core? Or were you writing to your audience who you believe to be of a different caliber than the norm?

>> Listen to the show.

Next you write…
Let’s face it: you’re talented – gifted, in fact – a classic overachiever. But the odds are seven in ten that you find it difficult to accept and believe these compliments.

My experience is, in our culture right now, maybe more than in the past, WE shy away from compliments like it’s a badge of honor and an expectation to discount ourselves and negate our obvious abilities. Finding someone who can humbly, yet confidently and graciously, accept an authentic compliment is like finding Waldo. Yet my younger kids do it readily, while the older ones…have become…more Waldo-like. Why is this?

> >Hear the show.

Next, you write:
I say this because 70 percent of our population suffers from Impostor Syndrome and it is most common among high achievers, especially people with graduate degrees, college professors on track for tenure, and research scientists.

Impostor Syndrome is the blind spot that comes with talent.
Harold Kushner describes Impostor Syndrome as “the feeling of many apparently successful people that their success is undeserved… For all the outward trappings of success, they feel hollow inside. They can never rest and enjoy their accomplishments… They need constant reassurance from the people around them to still the voice inside them that keeps saying, ‘If other people knew you the way I know you, they would know what a phony you are.'” 3

So, Roy, long ago I had a realization. I saw two people often succeeding, the arrogant - those who really thought they were the next best thing since sliced bread - and…the ignorant, those who didn’t know any better than to think they could do something great. Then all those in between, the more self-aware, intellectual, enlightened…who knew better than to be arrogant or ignorant. They knew their weaknesses. So, my statement was, “Those who are more self-aware are generally those who are quickest to discount themselves.”

At a base level, then, what is a healthy perspective and persona to not be arrogant or ignorant? To be aware, and to walk healthfully in the truth that we have weaknesses, but our strengths are…strong. And nothing discounts that?

> >Listen to Roy’s response on the show.

Next in your article, you grab us with this:
Now here’s the good news: Impostor Syndrome is perfectly normal. What you want to avoid is the opposite, the Dunning–Kruger effect, a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusions of superiority, mistakenly assessing their abilities as much higher than they really are.

Everyone is messed-up and broken a little. (Impostor Syndrome)
But the most messed-up are those who believe they are not. (Dunning-Kruger)

Scientists Dunning and Kruger believe “the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”

A close friend once asked me to tell him the secret of confidence. “The key isn’t to think more highly of yourself,” I said, “but to quit thinking so highly of others.”

So, for our primarily faith-based audience here, will you reconcile this statement with the well-known verse:
Philippians 2:3 – and I read from the New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

>> Listen to the show.

This is what I was hoping to give you today:
Encouragement. Zig Ziglar’s foundational core, cry, and platform.
Talented people like you often feel they’ve just been lucky. But being in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing in the right way, isn’t luck, it’s talent. Most people have at least one talent. Be happy that you found yours.

To make this personal, I’ve always known I was an opportunist. I have good insight with people and circumstances and great relational skills. Connecting with people and earning their trust is easy. Then…I feel I know enough to be dangerous. But am I really a master? Is my talent taking advantage of opportunity, do I really have actual value to offer within the opportunity? Again, I’ve had hordes of testimony, successful business ventures, and strong relationships. But there is still a root feeling. Is there an equilibrium between humility, self-doubt and…a peace with the reality that, “Yes, I have skill”?

> >Hear Roy’s responses on the show.

You cite three things next:
1. Normality.
Seventy percent of successful people wrestle with Impostor Syndrome. See it for what it is and it will disappear.

2. Self-acceptance.
Yes, you have deficiencies, but so does everyone else. Relax.

3. Self-awareness.
I said that Impostor Syndrome is a blind spot among people with talent. Hopefully, now that you’ve seen your blind spot, it won’t be a blind spot anymore.

So, here, Roy, I want to just ask you a big question. One that delves into faith, doctrine, religion and life perspective. Foundational self-image, even.

Humility and truth. It’s a fact I know truth that can help people. Save lives. Without humility, some may listen, but few will follow, trust and change.

Help us with an understanding and vision of how to walk this out.

>> Hear the show.

Your last statement is…
Open your eyes to your talent and be glad of it.

This is a big point to me, Roy. I’ve had, have, times of struggling with judgment and a critical spirit toward people who are missing a truth that is hurting them and others. But with a healthy perspective, I realize…gratitude. Gratefulness that my eyes have been given sight to see and my ears have been given the ability to hear…and I have revelation!

What a gift to have revelation! What a privilege. I discern you had a time of life when you realized you were given…revelation, in a certain area. Share with us?

> >Listen to Roy’s responses on the program.

Your salutation, I can’t leave out:

Have a great week.
Do great things.
It’s in your nature.

“Do great things. It’s in your nature.” Why do you believe this?

>>Listen to the show.