Strengths Coaching Blog

Thursday, February 1, 2018

1 in 10,000

By Steve Allen


I have come across many quotes from Don Clifton during my strengths journey, but there is one in particular I love: 
“There is something you do better than ten thousand other people, and we just need to find what it is.” 
Having coached hundreds of individuals, I am continually trying to help clients understand their strengths and assist them in finding their “one thing.” When they discover their one thing — Wow! What a moment for them (and for me as a coach). 

As coaches, we are ever-watchful for stories to share with clients to assist in the discovery of each of their talents. And sometimes, the best examples are right in front of us. 

I have been blessed to have had two amazing careers: one as a pediatric cardiologist and now as a strengths coach. My talents have been easy to recognize and receive tons of encouragement and appreciation. 

My older brother Curtis, however, was born after a long delivery resulting in a permanent brain injury, making it harder for him to learn and do many of the activities that came so easily to me. My talents were on display for all to see and Curt’s were, well, not so much. 

Then last year, I had a life-changing experience. 

Curtis was retiring from his thirty-year career as a water meter reader for the city in which we both grew up. I had always thought being a water meter reader was a great job for Curtis because it was what he was able to do. 

However, listening to his bosses and friends at work, I discovered he was the best meter reader ever! They shared stories of Curt’s caring for his fellow employees and the impact he had on so many individuals. He came to work each day and gave his talents to others. Others would try the job and quit because of the physical demands and the consistent, repetitive work — but not Curtis! 

I began to see being a water meter reader as more than just a good job for Curt. Certainty it was, but he was the gold-medal meter reader, the best water meter reader in the history of the city, a hall-of-fame worthy-reader. With all his outward limitations, he had been given the talent to be consistent, accurate, precise and physically able to perform. 

He was the one-in-ten-thousand water meter reader. He truly maximized his talents, showing consistent, near-perfect performance in his role.

Now, when I am at work, I have a new hero — my brother Curtis. He invested in his best talents and gave so much to all who came in contact with him. 

Even though it might be easier to see my talents, I occasionally wonder if I am maximizing them to be their best as Curtis had done. He — in his own way —learned, loved and lived his talents, then he accomplished the most important aspect and blessed us all by giving his talents to the world. 

So when you are searching for stories to help others discover their one thing, remember that you may not need to look very far — sometimes the best lessons are right in front of you. 


CrossFirst Bank Wellbeing Champion, Steve Allen, had a long career as a pediatric cardiologist before being recruited to banking in 2015. Allen joined CrossFirst Bank in Wichita as a senior advisor and soon became a partner and director of the private banking team. When the company adopted a culture of wellbeing to enrich both employees' lives and business performance, Allen was a natural fit to lead the efforts. In 2016, he became a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and now teaches nearly 300 team members how to leverage what they do best every day. 

Before joining CrossFirst Bank, Allen was a Pediatric Cardiologist at Wichita Clinic where he practiced for 22 years.  He is a graduate of KU School of Medicine and completed a pediatric cardiology fellowship at the University of Colorado.  In service, Allen has given his time, talent and treasure to Global Orphan Project’s Care Portal, Oread Center and The Navigators advisory board, among others.  Allen resides in Wichita with wife Anne; they are proud parents to two adult children and recently became grandparents of a baby girl.  

Steve's top 5 strengths are: Achiever | Deliberative | Consistency | Belief | Individualization; his top 4 BP10 are: Independence | Knowledge | Determination | Confidence


1 comment :

Shari Gibbons said...

Moving article Steve and a great reminder that 'ordinary' can be, in fact, quite extraordinary! Thanks for sharing your brother's story.

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