Identifying Your Unique Abilities
So unique ability is not my term, but it really describes very well what we're trying to get to. The more that you can operate in your unique ability, whatever that might be, the better you are going to be serving your business, your teammates, your employees, your family. All of those things will stem from living in your unique ability because, as I mentioned in the last session, everybody should be looking at how you can be replaceable. But at the end of the day, there going to be an element of you that can never be replaced, and we don't want to replace it, but we want you being able to replace all the other aspects of what you do. And that unique ability could come in so many different forms. So I can tell you that mine is as a curator and creator of content, and I believe that the reason that I'm good at that and why that's become my unique ability is that I'm very good at connecting the dots between different kinds of information. So I'm able to see that this is the problem, this...
is what the process looks like, and this is a tool that I saw three years ago that could tie into this other tool from two weeks ago that then provides the answer to what we need. And that's what I do very well, and fortunately I figured out a way to make that useful and something I can turn a business into. But, generally speaking, I'm just looking at a whole bunch of lily pads in my head and seeing where they intertwine. But there's some obvious ways that we can figure out what you shouldn't be doing. And I mentioned also yesterday about how being replaceable is so important, and it's a psychological issue for people. It's an ego issue. And there's a really cool researcher in the leadership industry, and she says that ego is not your amigo (laughs) (audience laughs) because it does make us hold onto these things, and it'd be one thing if you're holding onto them to try to make them better, but a lotta time people are just holding onto them because it's what gives them their own sense of value and presents value to others, and that is where a lotta the problems lie. So, start to take an inventory of your day, and you look at what are the energy wasters, right? So there should be some obvious ones for you and that you could probably see in other people, and maybe even in your own family you can see people in your personal relationships where it's so clear that there's things that they're doing that just drive them nuts and that just make them have a bad day, and they just don't get the things done that they wanna do. Now energy wasters are not simply activities that you're doing that you shouldn't be doing. Sometimes energy wasters are how you're doing them or where you're doing them, or when you're doing them, which is a really interesting side of outsourcing that people don't tend to think of. So, the energy waster, for example, might be that you are a really good writer, but writing between nine and five when you're at work, for example, just doesn't work for you, and so you become a mediocre writer, and eventually you start to hate writing (laughs), and you don't do it anymore. Now, 10 o'clock at night might be the best time for you to do your writing, but if that's the case, then you have to have research leading up to that, or there needs to be a way that you're doing your outlines or things that prepare you so that you can take advantage of that. Or maybe you need to put some things in place, get 'em ready for prime time, whatever you wanna call it, and then let somebody else finish it and edit it and do whatever you want. So, for example, you could easily write something at 10 o'clock at night, finish it, and then have an editor who's on the other side of the planet, who's just starting their day, edit it while you're working. Or you may get into a big research project and, say, it's 11 o'clock at night, you wanna go to bed, you have kids, you wanna do things, and you could say, well I really need this kind of information, but I suck at research. So rather than just saying I'm not gonna do this, I'm gonna give that to somebody else, they can then take advantage of it, do it to their ability, and give it back to me. And what I'm really talking about here is asynchronous communication. So, thankfully we live in a world, it's actually kind of funny because technology makes it so that you can have synchronous communication with people anywhere you want at anytime, even people in the Space Station now can Tweet basically, but we really need to take advantage of that asynchronous communication because it allows you to not only communicate outwardly when you want to, but process communication inwardly when you need to as well. So, energy wasters, as I said, may be when you're doing it or how you're doing it or where you're doing it. So, again, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't be writing, 'cause it's so frustrating, and so maybe you just shouldn't be writing during the day (laughs), and you need to organize yourself to be able to do those things. Things that you're competent at, okay? That's the next level. So, these are things like sure you can do them, but you derive no enjoyment from them, and you're certainly not the best person to do them in your organization or in your ecosphere. So, again, think through this, and I'd like you to take a moment to think through what these things are for you. I can do payroll for our company because we have a really good process in place, but it's definitely not something I'm good at, and I'm not going to be the one to improve it necessarily. I certainly can do research. I can probably do some graphic design but not very well. So, start to think of those things that you're just fulfilling the baseline. And you definitely have people on your teams or in your organizations that are doing the same thing. One other good area to start to identify with that is the places where you've thought that you would just hire more people and put more bodies on the problem. That's typically a place where people are just competent, and you're not actually getting the best person, so you can have lots of people doing marketing or lots of people doing data entry. Doesn't really identify what the problem is. The next one is things that you're excellent at. So this is not your unique ability necessarily, and unique ability really is that thing that you just do better than anybody else, that you just wow people every time you do that thing. So the things that you're excellent at, and this is a tough one for people. You actually should be looking at how you can outsource the things that you are excellent at. You'll probably have to spend a little bit more money and get somebody that's a lot more competent, but still ultimately a really good thing to do. Now, the things that you're excellent at may be brain storming. Maybe you're really good at coming up with new ideas. But it doesn't mean that spending eight hours locked in a room with a bunch of people with white boards is the best way to spend your time, even if you can give a really, really great answer. And I know that one's a weird one for people, and you have to move up through these levels, but it's important to understand that when you're outsourcing, you're not simply limited to mechanics. You are able to outsource to strategists, people who can think big like you. Maybe you can think bigger, but there's still people that can think big like you. So what we're left with is your unique ability. Now, again, I mentioned mine is content creation and curation. Your unique ability could be talking on the phone and closing the deal. Your unique ability could be coming up with a great brand image. It doesn't matter. And it might not be what you've always thought it was, because sometimes your unique ability gets obfuscated by all this other stuff. So, once we get there, that's obviously not gonna get outsourced, but that should give you a bit of a guiding light as to what you can. And, again, this idea of being replaceable, if you try to replace yourself as much as possible, you won't be able to replace your unique ability, and you'll end up separating the cream from the crop. So, what I'd like you to do is take a few moments, 15, 20 minutes is really all it takes to start writing some of these things down. And just write out a list of what you do every day. Don't try to break it down into these categories, just write out what you do every day, from making your own lunch to getting your kids dressed, to hiring somebody, to paying a bill, whatever it might be. Write all those things down, and then start to look at those things that might not really be in your unique ability. And that's a really good way to get started on this first exercise.