We were hanging out in the backyard–couples, singles, kids, and a little bit of chaos. Fun was being had, friends were being made, and food was coming soon.
There was one guy in the group that seemed out of place. He had trouble engaging in conversation. He seemed a step behind in the humor department. And he didn’t have kids to deflect attention or fill the gaps.
But then it happened.
The host-man of the backyard had to take a work call, disappearing just before his wife emerged from indoors with trays of raw meat, calling for grilling. And not just any grill. This was an elaborate 3-grill system. Standard, Deluxe, and Green Egg. This was a serious outdoor event.
The wife called for her grilling husband but we explained he had taken a call. She looked irritated. Then she looked at us.
“Well, I guess it’s up to you guys!”
We all felt a degree of confidence at the grill, but this was another level and we each looked at each other, less than assertive.
Then, awkward guy stood up.
“I’ve got this,” he said.
Turns out, awkward guy is an outdoor grilling god. He dazzled, he dared, he navigated a propane change, mystery meat, and high-maintenance allergy orders. It was poetry in motion.
And he came alive while doing so. We stumbled upon his genius and he thrived. He went from holding back to leaning in; uncomfortable to contributing…even saving the day.
Everyone has a “sweet spot” of contribution. When you find it, not only do they come alive, but the group wins.
Try not to quit on people or judge too soon. Find their grill-master sweet-spot and let them loose.