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“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”
― John Guare
With 2020 fast approaching many are already future thinking. There are goals to be smashed, habits to be dropped and milestones to be reached. With this piece I am more interested in talking about how you can leverage your average skill in 2020 and become great at what you do even if you are not the best. Dr Eric Thomas wrote a book called Average Skill, Phenomenal Will, which I recommended in 5 books I wish everyone could read. The book simply talks about how phenomenal will will trump excellent skill on any day if that skill isn’t combined with dedication, hard-work and patience.
Normally, people think that success comes from developing talent in one skill. This works well in some fields. In medicine, the natural progression is to pick a speciality. Sports, you train to become best in your field, like Tiger Woods (golf) and Michael Jordan (basketball). In acting, you develop the best acting chops, like Robert De Niro and Morgan Freeman.
But besides becoming world-class in one skill, talent can come from having a unique stack of skills that no one else has. You can utilise different skills to create value in a way no one else can, thus becoming one-of-a-kind in your own league. Scott Adams created Dilbert, a famous comic strip that appears in 65 countries. Scott is said to have a net worth of $75 million, majority of which comes from Dilbert, and he coined a phrase that he called talent stack. It’s the idea that you can combine normal skills until you have the right kind to be extraordinary. An example is Scott himself. He’s not the best artist — there are better artists than him. He’s not much of a business expert — there are more savvy experts. He has never taken a college-level writing class, yet he has a comic strip that is doing so well.
He says, “When you add in my ordinary business skills, my strong work ethic, my risk tolerance, and my reasonably good sense of humour, I’m fairly unique. And in this case that uniqueness has commercial value.” As you can see, he attributes his success to his character not his skill.
When I wrote my book and started my blog, I was not much of a writer — I have never taken a professional writing class. I am average at web design skills. My marketing and business strategy skills are also average. I however have very strong analytical skills and content creation skills plus a strong passion for growth.
Put these together and I was able to create a business that thrives despite stiff competition. And the driving factor is not the content I deliver but the fact that it is me that is delivering the content. Many people future thinking now are stuck because they feel they lack in one or more areas hence their venture will not succeed. What i will tell you though is that you are enough. You may not be complete but you are enough. The skills that you lack can be learned or hired, but your character cannot be. In your future thinking include this phrase: I AM ENOUGH.In 2020 you are your only limitation, please do not self sabotage. Click To Tweet
To help you with your future thinking here’s how talent stack works:
- You leverage on the skills that you have, to create an edge. Marketing, networking, technical, design, etc.
- Even if you don’t have a skill, you can learn it to set yourself apart from others.
- You mix seemingly normal skills together and become extraordinary in your own right.
Let’s say you are a software engineer. You are average in your field but you design and develop software with ease. However, you are stuck in a job that pays you almost the same amount every year.
Many software engineers are technically competent but lack the waviness to market themselves. They are simply not taught how to market themselves in engineering and computing classes. A possible talent stack here can be:
- Technical. You already have this skill if you’re a software developer.
- Networking. You form positive relationships with people across the organisation. This gives you high visibility among the management. You form relationships with recruiters, headhunters, and peers in different industries to expand your job options. You know how to use tools like LinkedIn to connect with industry peers and get potential job offers.
- Presentation. You can present yourself well, and your ideas eloquently.
- Marketing. You know how to market yourself and sell your strengths. Your resume is filled with achievements but not responsibilities. You know how to present your skills and job history in the best way.
You don’t need to be the best in networking/presentation/marketing. Just knowing some networking, presentation, and marketing skills puts you at a sweet spot, ahead of others. Because everyone else (in your field) lacks these skills. Read more about the Sweet Spot here.
The goal of a talent stack is to stack different skills to create a sweet spot. A sweet point that dramatically raises your value in a competitive field. This applies whether you are a blogger, salaried employee, business owner, baker, software developer, coach, or something else.
My questions to you are:
- What industry are you in? Blogging? Health and fitness? IT? Coaching? Online business? YouTube? Others?
- In your industry, what skills do people compete on?
- Given that everyone has these skills in #2, what new skills can you learn to triple-double your market value?
If you have absolutely no idea what to learn, some true-north skills that are great for stacking are:
- Public speaking
- Coding (it’s no longer for tech geeks alone)
- Social media marketing
- Business management
- Design (graphic or otherwise)
- Whatever you are passionate about
Again, you don’t need to be the best in every skill. Simply learning a new skill opens up so many options and avenues. For some, learning and combining different skills may be the answer to discover your passion and talent — rather than something that you discover by sitting around and waiting for life to happen. In 2020 you are your only limitation, please do not self sabotage. Share with us you your future thinking in the comments section.
Happy holidays and merry Christmas
“Women may fall when there’s no strength in men.” – William Shakespeare
We are a few days away from closing 2019. Not just a year but a whole decade. Now when the year started we all set goals that we wanted to pursue. The reality is not all of us have managed to do so and this creates an internal conflict. Many people have been asking me if I have any thoughts on reshuffling, re-prioritising, or finding new purpose in life, as they are not really sure if what they thought they wanted before is worth it anymore.
Life happens to everyone, but to some its brutal. Some lost babies, some got divorced, others lost their business, some got disabled. To some degree, we have all suffered loss in 2019 and I am no exception. Below I share a few lessons I have learned about navigating through these losses.
1) Give yourself space to grief, to heal
Firstly I’m not going to tell you that what doesn’t break you will make you stronger.
Instead I’m going to tell you to grieve and take some time out for yourself first. Our society today is very much about doing. Do, do, do. Move on. Get over things. Get over yourself. Go beast mode.
Yet we are humans, not machines. When we fall we need time to heal and climb back up. When we have an emotional tumble the wounds may not be visible, but they cut so much deeper than physical wounds. Trying to “move on” when we are still hurting and feeling lost not only hurts us, but may cut us deeper and leave us more broken. Worst case scenario our wounds will begin to hurt the people around us as well.
Take some time out for yourself. To heal. To recover. To find yourself. Give yourself the space to grieve, cry, and mourn over your loss.
I recommend to journal your darkest feelings. Pour your heart out on paper. Talk to your loved ones and share your pain. Spend some time alone, by yourself. If you are working, take a few days of no-pay leave (if you don’t have paid leave left) to rest and get a timeout. Work can continue for a while without you. But you, you need time to rest, recuperate, and heal, before stepping forward.
2) Think about the things that matter
Maybe you feel lost because you have been working so hard on something that amounted to nothing. Maybe you just lost your job. Maybe your marriage ended in shambles. Maybe your business is not doing well. Maybe you just lost a loved one. Or maybe you just lost your baby, a pain that no one should ever have to go through in their lifetime.
In these darkest of times, think about the things and people that matter. Your parents perhaps. Your sibling(s) if you have any. Your partner. Your passion. Your beliefs. The people you care about, whom you’ve touched. Your children, if you have any.
And then there’s someone you may have forgotten. Your higher self. He (She) has always been there with you, quietly watching you, comforting you. He (She) has been with you through everything and wrapped his (her) hands around you and tightly hugged you in times of pain, even when you thought you were alone.
When all hope seems lost, remember that you are not alone. If you find it very hard to think about someone or something you care about, close your eyes and ask yourself, “What matters to me? What matters to me in this world?” Write down all your answers in your notebook, and write until you cry and until you can cry no more. As you lie in a state of darkness and grief, think about the things that give you light.
3) Reflect on your future
When you’re ready, and only when you’re ready, think about your life ahead.
As you stand and see your life before you, what do you wish to do moving forward? What do you want to achieve in 2020 and beyond?
For example, 5 years from now, what do you wish to see in your life?
- Do you want to start a family, if you don’t have one yet?
- Do you want to work on a new career?
- Do you want to run your business or start a new one if your previous business failed?
- If you’re single, do you want to be married or be in a relationship?
- Where do you see yourself living? Do you want to be living in the same country or elsewhere?
- What do you want to be doing?
It doesn’t have to be one answer but a few answers for the one question.
Doing this envisioning exercise is about getting clarity of what you want. Defining a direction that you care about. This direction can be the exact same one you were working on before. It can be a similar direction to what you were doing before but altered based on your new priorities in life. It can be a totally different one. Take this as a good timeout to think about what you want vs. just going through the motions.
For example, someone told me that she felt lost because she had been working so hard on her career/business all this while and made sacrifices, yet the people there for her during her darkest hour were her family and husband. While she is working on her business today, all she can think about is her baby and family. All these things that I was chasing, that I thought that I wanted, what for? she couldn’t help but wonder.
I told her to think about what she wants to see down the road. “What do you want to see in your future, 5 years from now?” This future can involve being a full-time mom. It can involve running a successful business. It can involve having a family and running a business of meaning to you. Alternatively, it can involve returning to employment while starting a family. There are no right or wrong answers, only what inspires you and what you want to do.
The most important thing is to know that there is no right or wrong answer, only what matters to you. There is pride and joy in being a full-time mom and caring for the household. There is great fulfillment in being a single business owner. You can also be a multi-tasking parent and entrepreneur, managing family and business. Or you can be married with no kids by your choice, dedicating yourself to your goals, career, partner, and family members.
Your vision can also change along the way, and it is okay. This person said to me, “I don’t want to set [a vision] that I realise I don’t really want, or that if I set a mediocre one I would feel restless after a while.” Know that our visions are meant to be dynamic reflections of what we want at this current moment. We will change, and our goals will change, and it is okay. What’s more important is that we have a vision that inspires us enough to take us forward, and we continuously update that to reflect what inspires us now.
Likewise if you are a guy, you can be a full-time dad if this is what works for you. You can be a full-fledged entrepreneur building your business. You can be a family man having a stable job and raising your family. You can be a nomad traveling across countries and speaking at different places where you go. This is no one fixed path, but the path that holds the most meaning to you. None of the path is better or more superior than the other, just different.
If you haven’t, do what I call a life purpose exercise where you write your life purpose for 30 full minutes until you cry. It will give clarity of your overall life direction and where/how you should steer your life as you step ahead.
4) Start to pick up the pieces
When you return to life after a hard fall, it may feel disjointing. You may do X but think about Y. You may feel like you are at a loss. You may feel distanced, like you are far away from the things you are doing even though you are trying to move full steam ahead.
Start with the things you enjoy and that give you meaning. What did you enjoy doing before? Start with these.
- Maybe you enjoyed writing. Start writing a few articles. Pen down your deepest feelings. Write not for others, but for yourself.
- Maybe you liked going for walks with your partner. Add this to your routine.
- Maybe you liked watching movies. Pick a few new releases and watch them.
- Maybe you liked to travel. Plan your next vacation. Or go for a quick weekend getaway. If your finances allow and you have no immediate obligations, go on a trip for a few weeks. Clear your mind and realign your priorities.
- Maybe you enjoyed volunteering, which you find purposeful as you help out individuals in need. Go for some volunteer work that you care about.
- Maybe you liked to work as working keeps your mind moving and your work allows you to do very meaningful stuff. Take on projects that inspires you the most, that get to create the most impact.
The goal is to reintroduce the things you liked about your life back into your routine, at your own pace. Also, focus on doing things that interest you vs. doing things out of obligation. Let yourself be guided by what you want, what you love, not what you feel you have to do. The former is to be driven by love while the latter is driven by fear.
5) Start rebuilding your life
Once you are ready, it’s time to rebuild your life.
Ready meaning you are ready to reintegrate with the world. To give life your all again. To be your true authentic self.
Remember the vision you have painted in step #3? How can you get started with that?
Perhaps you lost your child and you are grieving over their passing. You still hope to have a child one day, to start a family.
When you are ready, try for another child with your partner. I know someone who lost her baby but subsequently conceived again and gave birth. Their newborn fills them with joy each day. Yet she could never have entered the world if they (the parents) didn’t decide to try again, for another baby. She doesn’t replace her lost sibling in any way, but she brings joy and love to her family all the same.
Maybe you just ended a marriage. You are still hurting but you have decided that it’s time to move on.
There’s no need to jump right back into the dating scene if you’re not ready. In fact, use this time to focus on yourself. To work on the goals you couldn’t when you were married. To date yourself and fall in love with life again as a single.
Maybe you just went through a crushing business failure or your business is tanking. You feel ashamed and you’re not sure what to do next about your business.
Remember that businesses fail all the time though. Colonel Sanders was rejected 1,009 times when he tried to sell his now famous KFC recipe. Richard Branson, business magnate and billionaire, has failed in many businesses, from Virgin Cola to Virgin Brides to Virgin Cars. Steve Jobs got fired from the very company he founded, and very publicly so (he would be famously rehired later on).
That your business has failed or yet to take off is hardly the exception but the norm, especially in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. In fact every entrepreneur almost certainly fails a few times at least before succeeding. As Richard Branson says, “Every person, and especially every entrepreneur, should embrace failure with open arms. It is only through failure that we learn.” The focus here isn’t “How can I not fail?” but “How can I fail quickly, learn from my failures ASAP, and use these lessons to achieve my next success?” Read: Failure Is Not Defeat
If income is a concern, get a job or do some part-time work first. Budget and save up while you work on your business on the side. Quit when you gain enough traction to make a living from your business.
Maybe you just got retrenched. Your previous company is the only thing you’ve ever known your entire working life.
Take this as a fresh new start. Your previous company is not you. What are some goals you’ve always wanted to pursue? Hobbies? Take this chance to explore them. Is there a different industry you’d like to dip your toes in? Create a plan that safeguards your financial risks while paving your new path. Reach out to your friends, industry contacts, and headhunter agencies to understand the industry status and job openings. Attend recruitment events. Use sites like Glassdoor, Vault, and Linkedin to research and understand the inside scene of the industry better.
While I can’t say that things will get easy because they may not, here’s one thing I do know: We are alive right now. You and me, we are alive. Because of that, it means the possibility to create what we want. To be with our loved ones. To touch them, cherish them. To pursue what we love. To impact others. To make a difference in the things we care about. To show appreciation to the people we love, while we still can. To create life, for some of us.
I hope you’ll be able to find the strength to carry on soon. I hope you’ll be able to break through this darkness to find light. When you do, you’ll find that the whole world has been waiting for you to re-join it all along. That everyone around you, including the people you care about and love, has been waiting for you to join them. That no matter what you think, you are never alone. That even in times of darkness, you can see a light. A light that is inside you, that is burning brightly within you. Lets Go!
There was once a billionaire who had all the money in the world but not much else.
Sure he possessed regal mansions, royal yachts and jewels of every sort.
But each morning, when he awoke, his heart longed for a wealth that felt more true.
As a child, he sensed he had gifts within him that could produce artistry, talents inside him that would reveal mastery and potential that just might astound humanity.
As a young man, he knew the secret to a special life was less about things–and more about experiences. Less about getting and more about growing. Less about taking and more about giving.
…discovering beauty in unexpected places, doing work that enriched his spirit, being kind to strangers on everyday streets and passing through each day with simple grace. And quiet strength.
But as he grew older, and as he accumulated his vast fortune, those ideals became less important.
He stopped thinking about his special life. And started living fully in society.
One day, the billionaire met a beggar on a road.
The beggar’s clothing was tattered. The old man’s hair was in knots. A tin can sat before him. With only a few coins in it.
Yet, for all his seeming poverty, the beggar had an exquisite richness about him. The kind cash can never buy.
“You’ve lost your way, haven’t you,” spoke the beggar. “I sense you have everything yet you feel very little. You own so much in the world but remember so little of your true–and best–self.”
“Yes,” admitted the billionaire. “Yes, you’re right.”
“Who are you when no one is watching you?” Questioned the beggar.
“What are the deepest longings of your heart and the most daring dreams of your soul?”
“Are you intimate with your greatness? And in relationship with your highness?”
“This is the wealth that the wise amongst us know of.”
The billionaire stared at the beggar.
“How do you know me so well?” he wondered aloud.
“I know you because I was once you. And my misfortune can serve as your lesson.”
“It’s never too late to remember who you truly are, you know,” offered the beggar as he scratched his ancient beard.
“And this new day offers you a second chance at beginning your finest life. It’s never too late to be who you wish to be. And lead the life I trust your heart aches to live.”
The billionaire closed his eyes for a moment.
The billionaire felt tears in his eyes. Over the years he’d betrayed himself. And the regrets that had consumed him. He vowed to change.
Not just for he and those he loved most. But for the world. That demanded more of his genuine nature. And brightest light.
The billionaire promised himself–that from then on–he’d only release work that was poetic. That he’d develop the people at his businesses. That he’d serve more humans in the marketplace and within communities. That he’d take more risks and count more blessings.
And that he’d model possibility while dedicating himself to philanthropy. For the benefit of humanity.
He also told himself he’d be more vulnerable, fill the holes within him he’d been trying to mask with materialism, become a better man and show up as a dramatically kinder person.
As he opened his eyes, he saw that the beggar was gone.
And where he had sat was a torn piece of paper that simply read:
“Every life matters. Every one of us can be great. Each day is a gift. Today’s a perfect time to start. I believe in you. You have what this journey takes. And I love you.”
2020 is a precious platform you’ve been blessed with.
–To unchain your potential.
–To elevate the caliber of your work.
–To serve your customers vividly.
–To multiply your health beautifully.
–To get lofty ambitions done.
–To install the skills of the titans.
–To forgive those yet unforgiven.
–To exemplify strength, honor and decency.
–To start living with true beauty.
This–above all else–is my vast wish for you…
…I’m here to help you. To inspire you. To serve as an instructor for your genius and a champion of your bigness.
We CAN do this together. Just because last year may not have been amazing doesn’t mean that this year can’t be iconic.
But PLEASE do something to get the process started. Make a decision, read a book, take a leap, start a course.
It doesn’t have to be one of mine. Just do something now. And then again tomorrow. And the day after. And when it’s easy. And definitely when it’s hard.
If you’d like me to help you make 2020 the single best year of your life yet, I’d LOVE to work with you.
For 20+ years I’ve been showing people exactly what to do to transform personally and fly professionally so they get serious and gorgeous RESULTS…
Just read what’s below and if you’re ready to make this New Year epic, don’t make any excuses and just do it…
I am totally dedicated to helping you make the changes and see the results in 2020 that you’ve never seemed to be able to get in your life.
There are just too many people who could be doing epic things with their lives but aren’t, because no one has ever taught them the insights, habits, practices and ways of being of the best.
I’ll be direct [with respect] because I care about you, your potential to win and the responsibility we all have to show our gifts to the world…
…if you don’t make some changes now, nothing will change for you this new year.
Every great performer has one thing in common: they have a coach. [Because you just can’t raise your game + your impact significantly alone].
So I’m with you. I really do have your back. I fully want you to fly this year…
This post was originally posted here by Robin Sharma