What Does IT Stand For?

The IT Quality of Audrey Hepburn

I have trained many private students through the years and have discovered some qualities to answer the question, What does IT stand for?  One main thing I have learned is that you can’t teach an IT quality. As I have worked with the large range of very young student to college students to older adults, there is no specific age barrier or range for this quality.

What does it stand for you ask? It is the indescribable presence one has when getting on a stage or in front of a group of people. It is even the irrepressible presence one has when walking into a room. I also refer to it when speaking of a natural ability or skill. It is usually used with relaxed confidence, even though the person who has it may not feel completely confident. It is definitely the quality I see in Audrey Hepburn, especially in her movies.

Audrey was thirty-two years old when she starred in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961. She played an extroverted girl and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance. However, she said playing that girl was the hardest thing she had ever done as an introvert.

Even as a self-proclaimed introvert, her expressive eyes and facial expressions communicate a vulnerability that is believable and extremely marketable. It seemed so natural, though I’m fairly sure she rehearsed parts many times in front of a mirror. Also, even though she had natural talent, she continued to develop her craft and trained intensely in ballet, voice, multiple languages and diction.

Everyone has something of an IT quality, even though it may never appear on a stage or on screen. It may be in research, in counseling, in putting together systems. What one thing makes you unique? When you discover what your IT quality is, using it with a relaxed confidence may even help to open up further doors of opportunity.  So how do you discover this in your own life and career? The process takes some self-evaluation and discovery, but here are three areas that will help you get started or even re-started.

It Quality

ONE: Gather comments. Is there one comment you hear most often? Such as, Your flow chart made the most sense of any I’ve seen. Or, The order and flow of your program felt seamless. Or even, You were able to get to the heart of the issue. 

TWO: Evaluate the main comment(s). In the above example those evaluations would include the IT quality of putting together a system or chartproducing an event and discovering and analyzing the root issue of a problem. 

THREE: See where life is taking you and be willing to change course. When Hepburn was told she would not make the status of prima ballerina because of the after-effects of wartime malnutrition, she started concentrating on acting. She wasn’t afraid to make this change and the fact that she had studied dance still showed up in her movies, as she performed many of her own dance sequences. But she became known as an actress, as the American Film Institute named Hepburn third among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time.

Developing the mindset of the willingness to change is key. In the book Immunity to Change by Robert Kegan, he says, Courage involves the ability to take action and carry on even when we are afraid. (p. 47)

Gather, Evaluate and be willing to Change Course. That’s it! There are very few that can rival Hepburn’s career, but you can use your own IT quality to your fullest advantage in your life and career, especially with a mindset that allows you to change course.

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About the Author:

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain™® and President of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. Deborah provides principles to produce a successful second half, creating momentum and getting unstuck, reaching expansive goals and a desired lifestyle. Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of Stuck is Not a Four Letter Word, Bad Code and soon-to be released Women at Halftime. She speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.