It may not be what you think. I have many things I am adequate at doing but not great. I have only a few things I am great at and one sweet spot. You may have a hard time recognizing your own greatness, or you may think you are absolutely brilliant at everything. In either case, narrow it down.
If you have been in business for a long time and are an expert in your industry, what would your best customer say you are really good at doing? Why don’t you ask a few of them? They will tell you EXACTLY why they bought your product or service and what makes you unique. The results may surprise you. The process of narrowing down your sweet spot or unique ability is freeing. It allows you to focus on the most important thing you do and, I hope, allow you to release lots of the other stuff.
Susan discovered that her sweet spot wasn’t making the calls herself. Although she had the knowledge, she was at her best when she was grooming others to make great calls. Her sweet spot was teaching what she knows. She is a comfortable teacher and speaker, and over the years she had developed some tools that she used to train newbies to the call center. Many of her past employees were now working in sales and making great commissions in other industries. In fact, she felt she could teach in just about any forum: one on one, classroom, stage, video set. Her unique ability was teaching by presentation.
You may be a good writer, but you are a great editor. You are an excellent manager, but you excel at having difficult conversations with people. You may be good at baking pies, but you are amazing at selecting fruit.
Let’s take the fruit analogy and get strategic with it. You are a baker, but your sweet spot is selecting fruit. Your Mission is to see organic fruit widely available. Now you are thinking of teaching other bakers how to pick the best organic fruit and promote their local farmers. Do you think there may be a market for that expertise? You will need to start a research project around the needs of organic fruit pie bakers. If that need does exist, you’re golden. But what about the needs of organic fruit growers? Could they use an expert pie maker to help their customers pick organic fruit? Great question!
Here is your assignment:
Make a list of all the things you do. Make it a long list. I know it is long, right?
Once you create the list, draw a line through all the things you know you don’t do great.
Next, draw a line through all the items that you really don’t like. You may be good at them, but we don’t want to keep them around.
Take what is left and put them on post-it notes and stick them to a wall, a flip chart, or someplace where you can look at them and play with them.
Take whatever time you need or as many times as you need to change them around, but put what’s left in order of best to least.
When you are happy with your order, what have you discovered?
Don’t worry about the research you need to do to discover if there is a market for your unique ability. Chances are you are already successful with your unique ability. You will next be looking for ways to develop your unique ability as expertise.