Envy isn’t a part of my makeup.

At school, I was subject to a highly competitive environment. I had a 12-year old super genius in my Year 12, Extension 2 math class (the highest level of high school mathematics offered in Australia – not bad for tween). I also sat next to a guy who scored 100 in the university admission index. I was surrounded by what you’d call nerds, so I was nowhere near being the smartest kid at school and I knew it . My strengths were never in the traditional subjects – I did well in things like public speaking, debating, art, design tech, talking smack & being a showman. Not exactly examinable content.

But if school taught me one thing it was this: how to value & respect everyone. I’ve always had an ability to connect with the super geniuses – being able to discuss abstract concepts like whether zero is a positive or negative number and make them feel comfortable being themselves. And yet I was also cool with the super cool kids. My ability to transcend social constructs allowed me to move freely between diverse circles and learn from them all.

Now that I’m a grown up (though my wife would disagree), I apply this in a work context – I work in the tech space, but have no formal tech background. I’m the connector between the tech people and the key stakeholders that have the authority to make decisions. I can communicate effectively with both because I can speak their respective “language”. This comes from being appropriate to the situation you are in & selecting your words carefully to have maximal impact. This is a skill that can be easily developed over time – specifically if you mentally prepare how to you want to approach things.

Just like most learned behaviours, once you get the hang of it – it becomes second nature.

Be the connector at work, in relationships and in life. Be the guy/gal that bridges the gap between seemingly incompatible units. Not only will you be valued for your incredible ability to communicate but you will be in a prime position to create cross functional opportunities that will put you years ahead of the game.