Weekender: Lin-Manuel Miranda on Finding Your Thing

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Welcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a bagatelle of thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why just a bagatelle? Because it’s the weekend!

Motivation is not easy. It is even more challenging when you don’t yet have a focal point for your energy. Acclaimed playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda experienced this at a young age. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Miranda discussed how he created 2015’s hottest Broadway show Hamilton, saying,

I went to a school where everyone was smarter than me, and I’m not blowing smoke. I was surrounded by genius, genius kids. What’s interesting about growing up in a culture like that is you go, ‘alright, I’ve got to figure out what my thing is.’ Cause I’m not smarter than these kids. I’m not funnier than half of them, so I’ve got to figure out what it is I want to do and work really hard at that because intellectually I’m treading water to be here. 

Miranda did not rely on natural talent. Did it exist? Sure, but he could not tap into it until he knew what direction to go. Once he did,

I picked a lane and I started running ahead of everyone else. 

If you’ve achieved (or are striving to achieve) any degree of leadership, you have some idea where you are headed. The challenge is to transform “having some idea” into a laser-focused objective. Only then can you properly prioritize, harness resources, and divert your efforts in the most constructive ways possible. If that doesn’t work, do what Miranda did; surround yourself with smarter, funnier geniuses who can inspire and guide you towards your goal.

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