The IT Quality of Audrey Hepburn
I have trained many private voice students through the years and have discovered some qualities to answer the question, What does IT quality 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 students from very young to college and older adults, there is no specific age barrier or range for this quality.
What does IT describe you ask? It is the indescribable, yet palpable 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 exhibited 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.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
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. Watch or re-watch her performance and see if you spot 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.
Every one of us has something of an IT quality. Though it may never appear on a stage or on screen, you've got IT. It may be in research, in counseling, in putting together systems. But whatever IT is, when you are doing IT, people around you relax and they even gain a measure of confidence while participating with you. They know something is being done right! This IT quality is what makes you unique. When you recognize what your IT quality is, using it will 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 to reflect upon that will help you get started or even re-started.
Three Areas of Discovery
Area 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, Someone was finally able to get to the heart of the issue.
Area TWO: Evaluate the main comment(s). In the above example those evaluations would include the IT quality of putting together a system or chart, producing an event and discovering and analyzing the root issue of a problem.
Area 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.
Adopting a mindset that is willing to change based upon valid feedback 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've got your own IT quality. Use it to your fullest advantage in your life and career, especially with a mindset that allows you to change course.