Bev Godby and Bill Hendricks – This Thing Called Giftedness Part 1

“I always wanted to be a teacher, but the teaching part was really about the story of each person for me. Yes, it was about the content I was giving them, but it was being more immersed in the whole idea of who this person is.” -Bev Godby

[00:00:00] Bill Hendricks: Ralph was just an amazing person. Any rate I went through the process and when I got to the feedback session, which is like the reveal okay here’s your giftedness. It was as if I’d been in a pitch-black room my whole life, bumping into the wall, falling over, furniture getting hurt, and somebody just reached over and flipped the light switch on.  And very quickly I began to see all kinds of things that I’m like, oh my gosh, now I understand what it is I’m trying to do.

[00:00:28] Tommy Thomas: My guests today are my good friends, Bev Hendricks Godby, and her brother Bill Hendricks. They work together at The Giftedness Center in Dallas. Bill holds degrees from Harvard University, Boston University, and Dallas Theological Seminary. He’s the author or the co-author of 22 books, including The Person Called You, Why You’re Here, Why You Matter, and What You Should Do with Your Life, and his most recent book, which he co-authored with Bev – So How do I Parent this Child – Discovering the Wisdom and Wonder of Who Your Child was Meant To Be?

Bev has degrees from Wheaton College and the University of Texas at Dallas, a former educator and audiologist. She’s particularly attuned to how the giftedness of her clients expresses itself in the whole of their life, narrative, and relationships.

[00:01:24] Tommy Thomas: Bill and Bev have made a great impact on the corporate and nonprofit sectors as they’ve advised people, ranging from high school and college students to corporate and nonprofit executives on how to be their best by understanding their individual giftedness, and as Max Lucado put it on his book on giftedness, How to Live in Your Sweet Spot.

I’ve known Bill and Bev for many years. A trip to the Dallas Metroplex isn’t complete without sharing a meal. We’ve shared meals at Papa Do’s Seafood Kitchen and Papasitas Cantina, and we’ve also had a couple of memorable meals at Bev and her husband, Dale’s home. So Bev and Bill, welcome the NextGen Nonprofit Leadership

[00:02:06] Bill Hendricks: Thank you, Tommy. Great to be with you.

[00:02:08] Bev Godby: It’s wonderful to be here.

[00:02:11] Tommy Thomas: Bev, when I was undergraduate at Auburn, I was well known to the students at speech therapy and audiology. I have a conduction loss in my right ear. And once word got out that I was a will and Guinea pig, I was a regular guest at the Speech and Hearing Lab, I guess it didn’t hurt too much that most of the students were attractive co-eds back then,

[00:02:33] Bev Godby: I love hearing that.

[00:02:34] Tommy Thomas: Before we jump too deep into this discussion about giftedness, I’d like to go a little bit to your childhood we’ll ask both of you these questions and you can respond, you can figure who goes first. But yeah, going back to some experiences that that you think contributed to helping you become the person you are today.

[00:02:51] Bev Godby: One I’ll go first on that one. I found a through line that kind of has gone through my whole story from the very beginning that I remember up until now, and it all began to come together. At Wheaton College. So I would say making a decision to go to Wheaton was probably an inflection point that just really took my life forward.

I had always wanted to be a teacher, so I knew that just probably who knows, maybe wanting to do what my dad did as much as I understood it. But he was the one that always said, Bev, you should go to Wheaton. And he said it as my dad only could. That’s not a suggestion, but you really need to chase that one down.

When I got into Wheaton, which I was thrilled. I made that decision to go there. And I think that now when I look at it back at it, I think of that verse in second Timothy that says, guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you. And I just think that was a place where so much good deposit I was the beneficiary of.

And I just see so much that flows out of, again, just. Opportunity to be in that place with the professors that I had. And the real, the thing that really stands out to me is that I think it unleashed for me, or at least introduced to me the power of story. So this is very interesting to me that this is what I’m doing with my life.

it was about the content I was giving them, but it was being more immersed in the whole idea of who this person is

Because from, again, from early years, I always wanted to be a teacher, but the teaching part was really about the story of each person for me. Yes, it was about the content I was giving them, but it was being more immersed in the whole idea of who this person is. So that’s been all through my life, but I feel like that at Wheaton, I really got some tools to do that well.

And the rest, was just man plans this way. God directs his steps.

[00:05:03] Tommy Thomas: What about you, Bill?

[00:05:03] Bill Hendricks: Tommy, I was smart enough to be born last. And that made all the difference because when you’re the youngest you have the benefit of watching your older siblings make mistakes and then learn from them and not have to make those same mistakes in many cases.

I made plenty of mistakes nonetheless, but there’s also, I guess what I’d say now, I’m a I’m a parent of three grown daughters when you’re the youngest of four, it’s like your older siblings wear down your parents over time so that things go a little easier for you, if I could put it that way.

And I think the other thing about being the youngest was by the time I was getting up into my middle school years obviously as Bev has mentioned, our dad was an educator, so he put a huge emphasis on education. And in fact, all four of us children have at least one master’s degree and some more than one.

Education was always a big deal, but they didn’t have a lot of money, so it’s not everybody went to private schools until my seventh-grade year, a family in our church had their son in a private boys school in Dallas, and they really encouraged my folks to consider putting me in this school.

And of course we thought there’s no way we’re gonna be able to afford that. But nonetheless, I went over, took some tests one day. found out that this school wanted me, and next thing we know, there’s scholarships. And so if Wheaton was a turning point for Bev St. Mark’s, which was the name of that school, was a turning point for me.

St. Marks was the best educational experience of my life. And it opened  the door, ultimately to the Ivy League and many other opportunities.

[00:06:32] Bill Hendricks: That was the best educational experience of my life. And it opened up the door, ultimately to the Ivy League and many other opportunities. And and so I’ve been richly blessed by having lots and lots of teachers, mentors, people pour into me. And that’s why right next to Giftedness is of a life message right there.

[00:06:53] Bill Hendricks: Next to it is mentoring believes so much in the importance of mentors.

[00:06:58] Tommy Thomas: So you’ve both mentioned your dad and your mom. what was the most valuable life lesson you learned from your parents?

[00:07:06] Bev Godby: I would say that, For sure. My dad always said, be a person of your word. And I always believed watching him that those were his words, but just being able to watch the man all the time. It was even more fleshed out as character matters. Who you are when no one’s watching you will determine the arc of your story.

And I saw him actually do that in real life. And so that’s always been really important to me to be a person of my word. , feel that he really displayed humility. He was a man that certain groups of people would get real excited about and always, they’d meet me, they’d always go, oh, you’re dad.

And they’d say amazing things about him. But he, when I would tell him that, he would go bezels, they just don’t know me like you and I know me. . And it was just so forever humility has been such a key trait that I look for in people and really tr treasure for myself. Not that I think I can claim that, but I’d look for that.

[00:08:19] Bev Godby: And I think that’s at the heart of everything that I wanna be.

[00:08:23] Bill Hendricks: I like to think that we’re literally standing on our dead’s shoulders and building on his legacy in this whole giftedness. Work that we do not least of which, because our dad was in a perfect fit with his giftedness.

Our dad was in a perfect fit with his giftedness.  The man was born to teach, and he became a legendary teacher, an iconic figure as a teacher.

The man was born to teach and he became a legendary teacher, an iconic figure as a teacher. I happen to work at the school that he, I have a role at the school that he taught at for 60 years. And by the day I get people mention his name and hallowed voice and but they all have memories of him.

And he used to say, I love to teach. I lived to teach why I’d teach, whether or not they paid me to teach. And it was really true because we watched him teach even when he didn’t get paid for it. And I think Bec and he, as part of that, he had a gift for seeing the giftedness of other people.

And he would call it out. He would affirm what their strengths were and challenge them to lean into and live into those strengths and do something with them. And so now we do a very formalized form of giftedness discovery. But it’s really continuing on that legacy that that he had of identifying people’s strengths and we just love what we do.

[00:09:39] Tommy Thomas: I interviewed Dr. Linda Livingstone, the president down at Baylor a couple weeks ago, and her dad was a prominent basketball coach in the state of Oklahoma. And so I asked her, did you know your dad was was famous? And she said probably not really, not in the early days anyway.

I didn’t know your dad personally, but I’ve sat under his teaching a lot. What was it like to grow up in the household of somebody that at least some of us thought was famous?

[00:10:04] Bev Godby: There was always good and bad of course, in that, right? The weird part was that in certain circles you’d go particularly church related kind of things, and he was the rockstar.

Like honestly, people would talk about him like. But then you’d go to school or you’d go just wherever else and no one’s ever heard of them. So there was that disconnect a little bit. We, I feel, especially as a girl because I didn’t get to go to the seminary seminaries in those days, Dallas Seminary in particular was only for men.

I didn’t really ever see him teach. The only time that we would really watch him do what he did was when we would go to Fort Worth. He had a church there that he used to pastor, and they’d invite him back all the time and we’d, and it was like watching someone on stage that is not your father.

Like it was a not me kind of experience, but I loved it. And we saw what people enjoyed about him. But there was a lot of the, son of daughter of thing that went on. . What was great, one of the great things about Wheaton was almost everybody. There was the son or daughter of somebody, Billy Graham, the real luminaries in the Christian world.

So no one cared about that. And I loved that I could just be me, be who I was. But it def it definitely was a mixed bag. Tommy I’ll, I’ll not lie about that, but in the end, I think it opened a lot of doors for me going forward, and I’ll always be so grateful to him. On the 20th is gonna be the 10th year since he’s passed away.

And I think more and more I appreciate that legacy that I was handed.

[00:11:48] Tommy Thomas: What about you, bill, as being the baby brother?

[00:11:50] Bill Hendricks: It’s a tremendous advantage to have a father that people just naturally think well of. I can’t imagine what people do. And I know there’s too many of them, who, whose father does not have a good reputation and then they have to live that down.

Yeah, there’s been pressure and expectations at times to live up to our dad’s reputation. But, and as I get older, I realize that’s not all, not altogether bad. It can be if you let it overwhelm your life and your identity. But, I after enough years of therapy, I think I of worked that one through. But it’s a tremendous honor to, as I say, to have people mention one’s father’s name and see in their eyes the respect, the admiration, the love that they have had for him and. . All in all it’s a privilege. It’s it then just wants me to do and be the best I can be in what God’s called me to in my twenties.

[00:12:48] Tommy Thomas:  I had every tape that your dad ever did on communications, and I would listen to those tapes on communication and. There are just have such great memories of Dr. Hendricks. Bill you mentioned about teaching when they didn’t pay him I’m sure he said this in a lot of his tapes, but he says, “they pay me to do this They don’t pay me much, but they pay me to do this” . Just, great memories there.

When I was in my early thirties, I was struggling with my career, and I read an article by RC Sproul where he talked about this thing called giftedness or understanding one’s uniqueness.  I got some career counseling, and it literally changed my life.

Fast forward to 1996 and our firm had been asked to submit a proposal to conduct the search for Bob Sieple’ssuccessor at World Vision US.   I remember my colleague Robert Stevenson and I, we flew up to Chicago at O’Hare to meet with the search committee and one of the members of the search committee she says are you the guys that work with Arthur Miller?

And we said, yeah we, yeah, we do. And so she went on to say about, she had read his book, the Truth About You, and told the story of how she and two of colleagues had gotten together to do business together because they were all very good at what they did in the field of communications.

When they got together, it was a train wreck. They just didn’t work together well. And so one of ’em had read the book The Truth About You, and they called Mr. Miller in, and he gave them a session and told ’em he could have told them in the beginning they weren’t gonna work well together because they were all so different.

And they were bound to clash. And so they busted up their company, went back to their other jobs and remained fast friends.  They were thankful for Mr. Miller’s counsel. So my guess my question is, when did the two of you first become aware of this thing called giftedness? And how did you begin to talk about it as such?

When did the two of you first become aware of this thing called giftedness? And how did you begin to talk about it as such?

[00:14:34] Bill Hendricks: guess I, I should begin that story. When I was 30 years old, I had finished my second master’s degree and about a week after graduation, my wife said to me, in no uncertain terms, listen I’m tired of putting you through school. I wanna start a family and stay home with children.  You need to get out there and make some money.

And in parliamentary terms we call that calling the question like, you gotta make a decision. And the problem is, I didn’t really know what I should do. And I was scared about it and people are saying to me, oh, but Bill you went to Harvard, you have two master’s degrees, you can do anything you want.

And I’m like they may be, but I don’t know what I want to do. And it was about that time that somebody introduced me to Ralph Matson, who was a colleague of Art Miller’s. And I was very skeptical of the process because I’d been through a career guidance clinic in Boston and spent three and a half days and had a lot of test results back.

But I still didn’t know what to do with my life. But this was different because this was story-based. And also Ralph was just a amazing person. Any rate I went through the process and

when I got to the feedback session, which is like the reveal okay here’s your giftedness. It was as if I’d been in a pitch-black room my whole life, bumping into the wall, falling over, furniture getting hurt, and somebody just reached over and flipped the light switch on.

And very quickly I began to see all kinds of things that I’m like, oh my gosh, now I understand what it is I’m trying to do. And I began to make choices on the basis of that career-wise that led me to better and better fit.

And about 10 years into it I, a lot of that was writing projects, Tommy, and you mentioned Art Miller in his book, the Truth About You, he wanted to get another book on giftedness done.

Art was a very brilliant man, but he was not a writer. And so he finally let me help him put a manuscript together on this other book, and it was working on that project that I realized. How taken I was with this whole phenomenon of giftedness and just decided to reinvent my consulting practice around it.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 25, going on 30 years and about I don’t know maybe five years into it, something like that. I was actually looking to add some people to the team and I’ll let Bev pick it up from there cuz that’s about the time she came aboard.

[00:16:57] Bev Godby:  Maybe 23 years or whatever ago he was looking to add bandwidth.

He had a particular application he wanted to do and so he said he was put out a call, like he was gonna hire some people. There must have been 20 people in the room that came for that informational meeting. And he decided, I guess he looked at a lot of factors, but of course, before he was gonna hire anybody, they were gonna go through giftedness.  You have to drink the Kool-Aid if you’re gonna talk about it. So it was then that I got to go through the process myself. And this is honestly true. I just happened to be very uncommonly. Gifted to do the work that Bill had done, and I don’t think I had any real clue about what he did before, except that I was interested when he had put out this call for people to work for him.

I thought – that sounds really interesting to me. Now I know why. But it was a very, it’s been a privilege. There were about five people at that time that was working for Bill, and I always think I’m the one that stayed, so now it’s me and Bill, bill and I, and it works great because we each have a very different kind of giftedness, but we both share one piece, and that’s something that we call impact.

So we’re trying to make a difference.  We have that shared vision for what this work is. We both have our own practice, but we get together for projects. Right now we’re doing a couple putting giftedness in the, in two schools that are interested in, in, making this into a curriculum for their students and their teachers and parents.

So that’s been really fun. I can’t think of anything that I have enjoyed more in my life. It just feels like I was always meant to do this work. Sometimes people ask me, don’t you ever get tired of interviewing people and listening to their stories? And I’m about as incredulous as my father was when I was asked to speak to a faculty for a back-to-school retreat.

And they said, the title of the retreat was going to be, how do we keep from making this just another year? And I thought I think I’ll ask my dad about that because, , he’s been doing this now for 57 years at the seminary. So if anyone, is just going through the motions, it would be him.

But I knew he wasn’t. So I went and talked to him about that and he just looked incredulous when I said, even posed that question to him, and he goes, how in the world could that be just the same? Nothing’s the same. You got all new people in the room, and you just got so energized. And he goes and they got new questions, and they interact with the material so differently.

And it just excites me to go and do every year because it could never be like the year before. And so it’s, that is really what this work is like for me is every ti every day is a new person. So it couldn’t better.

[00:20:11] Tommy Thomas: Let me give you a quote by Warren Bennis and I’m gonna date myself here cause Warren Bennis was writing back when I was in graduate school.

This is an older quote, but I think it rings true.

Too many companies believe people are interchangeable, truly gifted people, never are. They have unique talents. Such people cannot be forced into roles they’re not suited for, nor should they be. Effective leaders allow great people to do the work they were born to do.

[00:20:39] Bill Hendricks:  I agree with that a thousand percent. He didn’t use the word giftedness, but when he uses the word doing what they were born to do, that’s about the simplest definition of giftedness I’m aware of. Giftedness is basically what you’re born to do. Everybody’s born to do something for one person.

They’re born to solve a problem, never met a problem they didn’t wanna solve somebody else. They’re born to understand something at a very deep level. Somebody else, they’re born to get people to respond to them and influence their behavior. We could go on and on all day about all the different forms of giftedness.

There are, there’s actually as many forms of giftedness as there are people, because every person really is unique. And if you put a person in a slot where they do what they’re born to do, they work with tremendous energy and motivation, they need a whole lot less management. They just simply thrive and they’re usually highly productive.

And Bennis spot on there, in his assessment.

[00:21:40] Tommy Thomas: Bev, do you have anything to add there?

Bev Godby:

I think that whenever you are talking to a person that is talking about their giftedness, a light goes on in their eyes.

They just get excited telling you about it. And one, one of the reasons that makes the way that we get to get our data, because people come to us because something’s not working in their life, usually it’s work related.

And so what we do is go back to their highlights tape. I call it, we have a, we’re watching them in real life, doing what they’ve done all their life. They get about eight stories to us, tell us the details of it. And this very discreet pattern shows up. It is how they do what they do every time they’re motivated.

And we’re, we are living in a time right now where there’s a lot of emphasis on motivation.  There’s all kinds of tests out there. Myers Briggs. Strength Finders, the new one now that’s pretty popular with young people is Enneagram.. And these are all ways to use that same information, but they’re first of all getting their information from the person.

What do they like, what do they prefer? So that the test is as good as the person knows themselves. First of all, could they give that information? But secondly it’s about comparing you to other people and putting you in a group and giving you a type. And The way that we do it, ours is not by asking people to tell us what they love to do, if they knew that they’d probably be doing a job where they did what they love to do.

But we turn it on its head a little bit and we just capture them in the act of enjoying life.

So we get to quote, watch them through their words, telling us about a time that they did something they really loved and did well. And what is really great about story is that it reveals us for who we are.

So when they would tell eight stories, This very discreet pattern shows up, and there’s a lot of pieces in there that the person could not tell us that’s true about them. But when we hold up the mirror to them and say this is what you’re, the data is telling us they see it a hundred percent.

So it has a lot of power, maybe a lot more power than some of those other assessments out there, because it comes right out of their story. They know that we’re telling them the truth, and moreover, we’re telling them a truth that no one else really knows about them because they live inside their skin.

So, they know what we’re saying is a hundred percent true. So it gives us a lot of permission to help guide them. I think that’s one of the reasons why this job is so satisfying for me, because this is still being a teacher. It’s just a different classroom teacher. It’s not that, but it’s coming alongside of a person and really, Tommy, you’re standing on holy ground.

They’re telling you something that is, they not be. So it’s not only true about them, it has power. And I want them to see that, that it has value and that they are made this way on purpose, for purpose. So that’s really the joy of the. .

[00:25:10] Tommy Thomas: I tell people when we’re talking about interviewing them, I, I tell them – as they’re asking questions, look for the fire in somebody’s eyes.

Because when they’re talking about something that that really plays into who they are and their strengths, their eyes will light up and they’ll be an animation and that part of the interview that, that may not be present if they’re just talking about something that they had to do.

Next week, we’ll pick up this conversation with Bill and Bev again. If you like what you’re hearing, let me assure you, it gets better. If this conversation has piqued your interest in this thing called giftedness, visit to learn more. That’s

In the transcript of this episode we’ll have links to several books written by Bill Hendricks, as well as other writers on this thing called giftedness. Until next week, keep doing what you’re doing to make the non-profit sector more effective and sustainable.

“It was as if I’d been in a pitch-black room my whole life, bumping into the wall, falling over furniture, getting hurt, and somebody just reached over and flipped the light switch on.  And very quickly I began to see all kinds of things that I’m like, oh my gosh, now I understand what it is I’m trying to do.” -Bill Hendricks

Links and Resources

JobfitMatters Website

Next Gen Nonprofit Leadership with Tommy Thomas

The Giftedness Center

The Person Called You: Why You’re Here, Why You Matter & What You Should Do With Your Life

The Power of Uniqueness

So How Do I Parent THIS Child? Discovering the Wisdom and the Wonder of Who Your Child Was Meant to Be


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