Today, Gwendoline Vessot, suggested by Caroline Desquest, shares her vision of giftedness through the Gifted Interview. Thank you, Gwendoline! She is a trainer and HRD for small and medium-sized organisations and author of “200 moments of positive parenting… (or not!)”. She currently lives in the Paris area.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
Difficult question but I would say yes: I like my life the way it is, so if I changed this aspect, I would have more to lose than to gain 😉
.WHAT (MY OWN) GIFTEDNESS MEANS TO ME
Going fast, understanding fast, learning fast. Being passionate about stuff and having the chance to integrate any new thing as soon as I really want to. (The “as soon as” is essential: without motivation, nothing).
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
An accelerator pedal. You go faster, harder. Even when you hit the wall because you haven’t identified the road properly.
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
Officially, this spring, with results that confirmed something I had sensed for a long time but had only agreed to face up to a year ago.
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
The discovery of Giftedness itself was made before the tests, and there was a rather uncomfortable phase of adjustment in relation to others. How to integrate giftedness without “believing myself to be above everyone else”. It was this great fear that had prevented me from delving into the subject for a long time, following a parental prohibition formulated at the age of 6. In fact, it was the realisation of this prohibition that pushed me to really take the test: reading a psychology textbook brought back the associated memory, completely buried for years, of the moment when the word ‘gifted’ had been uttered in front of me. The reaction to my questioning (could this word apply to me?) was: “Gifted, you? No way”, with an implicit value judgment of “it’s not right to ask”, so the subject remained a no-go area for a long time.
So that’s what concerned me most: finding my own place without fear of crushing others.
On the other hand, what marked me in the result was the unexpected discovery of an attention disorder. I went through a phase of flabbergasting before rereading my life from the beginning and understanding many things!
I then went through a phase of observing “the ADD Gwen” in order to identify what was happening and the coping mechanisms I had unconsciously put in place. This then allowed me to arrive at a very powerful phase of systematisation / conscious application of these strategies in the moments / areas where my ADD was causing me problems.
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
That giftedness has nothing to do with clichés, that you don’t have to be Einstein or solve quadratic equations at the age of 7 to have an IQ that is outside the average. That IQ is one thing, but that it is only the expression of a potential. And that therefore some people will go much further with a less advantageous starting capital, and others, despite a high IQ, will struggle. And that I was lucky enough that this high IQ was expressed in a way that was compatible with the school system/school success.
.THE REMARK WHICH BLEW ME AWAY MOST WHEN I TALKED ABOUT IT
How it was clear to some people around me (especially my fellow students) while I personally saw no difference between their functioning and mine.
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
Formally identifying the Giftedness allowed me to simply close the case. This is very useful for me as a coach, who happens to have a number of clients with this condition. I can listen to their problems without putting mine down, because it is now in its proper place.
Discovering ADD has had more important consequences, especially because of this work of awareness of my management strategies.
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
To apply these management strategies without telling myself that “I shouldn’t need them”, without making a moral issue of it. And in particular, as a freelancer, to refuse even more resolutely all the assignments that could come to lean too much on the said ADD. Now that I know what the huge difference in performance is between these assignments and the ones I really like, I have no qualms about “only doing what I like”!
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
I only talk about it when the subject comes from them. And then the discussion is as much about them as it is about me, which is the point: to open a path for them to explore. Then, it all depends on where they are at; it took me a long time to explore this path, so I take care to respect my interlocutor’s own rhythm.
This is even more pronounced in coaching, for example, where I only bring up the point when it is directly related to the work objectives defined by the client, and where I almost never talk about myself.
What I see happening then is more like the appearance of a light, which gives shape and perspective, a possible meaning to explore for my interlocutor. He or she may not want to explore it immediately, but just knowing that there may be an avenue of explanation to explore one day is a source of reassurance.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
Two related things: the pathologisation of the phenomenon = giftedness as necessarily a source of problems and an explanation of all problems. Niet, one can be very happy gifted, thank you! And if you have problems, blaming them on giftedness is both very easy and cuts off a lot of avenues to work on them.
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
It’s a way of functioning. It is not uniform. What is interesting is to identify and take advantage of your own way of functioning rather than trying to reproduce your neighbour’s patterns of success.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
Applying this way of thinking (= respecting the way I function) to my children!
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
The monstrous efficiency of a well-identified and respected mode of operation. When you can use the force of nature rather than fight against it, you go so far, and so easily. There is a real ecological dimension to knowing yourself: you use your resources to the full.
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
Wondering is tiring. If you notice that you spend energy going nowhere, then you might as well use it to go to a precious place: the place of better self-knowledge.
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
Thinking that intelligence and academic success must go hand in hand and that one has wasted one’s potential if one has not done “good studies”. Intelligence is expressed in many different areas and the important thing is to allow yourself to use your intelligence in the area that makes you happy. As an HR person I have seen too many people get stuck in ‘high profile’ jobs and miss out on their fulfilment because ‘I didn’t go to [name of prestigious school] to finish [job that would be fulfilling but with less social consideration / less income]’.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Refocus on your personal sources of motivation. What do we run on? And orientate your professional life so that you are connected to the right fuel. Who would feed their diesel car with SP 95 or vice versa?
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Spend time together discussing how each other works, and build ways of working well together. Without moral judgement. There are no good or bad ways of functioning, but things that work better than others in a given context.
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
I’m still looking for one! I have read and do not recommend “The Gifted Women” by M. de Kermadec.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
Interesting, but obviously the tool is one thing, the hand that uses it is another. It is worth taking references before choosing a practitioner.
Besides, having seen what the WISC gives to children, I would have been very interested to see the 5th dimension also applied to adults…
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
It all depends on the impact it has on daily life. Less than using the word “gifted”, what is precious for any person is to be able to identify, respect and take advantage of his or her own way of functioning.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
Sometimes, sometimes not. Giftedness has many faces and it is not for nothing that there are carefully constructed and calibrated tests. If I could reliably identify the gifted without them… well, that would make me a lot of money!
.THE QUESTION THAT I WAS MISSING BUT THAT I WOULD LIKE TO ANSWER?
The missing question, which I would have liked to answer on the subject?
A question about “disorders” that can be combined with / masked by Giftedness. But I answered it anyway 😉