Seeing Ability: A Chance to Discover Hidden Talents

A Zoom video call with three participants. Each participant is in her own video window. The top left window has  Brittany McCormick. She is dressed in a dark jacket and has a blurred background. The top right window shows Princess Lukhele. She is wearing a black jacket over a white shirt and is in front of a red background. The bottom window shows Lois Strachan. She is wearing a headset and is dressed in a light-colored jacket with a blurred background. The Zoom interface shows typical call controls.

In June I had the opportunity of co-hosting the Seeing Ability mini-conference with two phenomenal women, fellow speakers Brittany McCormick and Princess Lukhele. We wanted to help people discover abilities and talents they currently overlook, and to give them actionable steps to shift them towards making use of those talents to achieve their goals.

While developing my speech for the event, I realized how strongly this theme had played out in my life. At least two of the major techniques I used to start adjusting to my blindness and move forward were things I had previously disregarded: my love of music and of solving puzzles.

The more I thought about it, the greater the impact I saw these two passions had, and continue to have, on my life.

I turn to my love of music whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed. Music gives me the space to catch my breath and regather the energy I need to carry on with whatever challenge I’m facing. This has been a pattern I’ve followed unconsciously since becoming blind. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed, I turn to my music, even if just to listen to a few songs on my phone. That practise began back when I was trying to adjust to my blindness, when I used music to give me the space I needed to step away from all that was happening. Without realizing exactly what I was doing, I was using music as a tool to aid my adjustment.

Music wasn’t the only passion that helped me move forward with my life. Solving puzzles also gained a far stronger role in my life than I’d ever expected.

I’ve loved puzzles since I was a young child. I regularly spent my leisure time constructing picture puzzles or doing some form of word puzzle. But I never thought of my puzzles as a worthwhile investment of time. They were just a fun activity, a pastime that served little purpose beyond the enjoyment and entertainment I gained. What I failed to realize was that my love of puzzles was developing the skills of problem solving. What, after all, is a puzzle if not a fun problem that needs to be solved?

After becoming blind I found those problem solving skills became more important to me. In many ways, my life has become a series of tiny life puzzles for me to figure out as I go about my daily tasks.

That was what I began to realize as I wrote my speech for Seeing Abilities – two skills that I hadn’t seen as important became a fundamental part of the way I live. Which got me wondering whether other people could learn from my experience.

I will share the recording of the speech I gave, which describes these basic concepts in more detail once I have uploaded it to my YouTube channel. I hope you’ll take a listen once it’s posted.

Ultimately, my invitation to you today is to think about the skills, talents and passions that you have but undervalue, and see how you can shift the way you see them to add greater impact to your life. I’d love for you to share those insights with me.

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