I'm just back from a 5-day break in Sicily at a remarkable boutique hotel. Every so often in our lives we are lucky enough to happen upon something truly brilliant - a restaurant, a hotel, a home. It may be grand or simple, but everything is just right - the food, the decor, the location, the welcome.
Mandranova is one of these places - a converted farm house and working olive farm creating some of the finest olive oil in the world and serving stunningly good home-cooked Sicilian food.
How do some people manage to achieve this brilliance while others don't? How can you achieve something truly brilliant in your own life? And how can you communicate that without boasting and alienating people?
This is a question that percolated through my mind as I sat relaxing in the Sicilian olive groves contemplating my surroundings.
Here's what I observed in Giuseppe and Sylvia, the creators of Mandranova:
1. Find your brilliance
Find that thing you have a natural ability and enduring passion for (clue: you've been doing it in some form your whole life)
2. Accept your brilliance
Even if you don't shout about it to the world, you must stop pretending you're nothing special (Brits in particular take note here). Downplaying your strengths short-changes both you and the world and it guarantees you will never rise above the level of 'good' to reach brilliant. (A good place to start is to find out which Wealth Dynamics profile you are.)
3. Develop your brilliance
Take what you're already good at and enjoy doing and focus all your energy on that. Become superb at it. It's going to take a while but if you're "in flow" you'll have a blast along the way.
4. Create something truly brilliant
Use your talents with the skills and knowledge you've developed to create something really special. Focus on something very specific you can excel at. Collaborate with others who are brilliant at the parts you're weaker at. Producing something is the most important step of all. It doesn't matter how brilliant you believe you are if you have nothing to show for it.
5. Show the evidence of your brilliance
Occasionally I meet people who tell me how brilliant they are. I'm really not very interested. Tell me what you've created or contributed to and what other people have said. Better still don't tell me, show me by helping me with this skill and knowledge of yours. Or just let me find you by others' recommendations.
The Mandranova experience speaks for itself. Most of their bookings come from word of mouth recommendations and MrAndMrsSmith.com, the specialist website for exceptional places to stay as determined by independent reviewers.
Giuseppe never once told us his olive oil is the best in the world but he did explain with passion the processes required to make the best olive oil in the world and was pleased to report that it was the chosen oil of The Ivy restaurant in London. The result: it was not the hosts who were using superlatives, but the guests.
Find the time this week to start creating something brilliant of your own.