It’s easy to spend a lot of time looking into the rear-view mirror. There’s a lot to learn back there in the past – though we can often find ourselves slowed down or even paralyzed by regrets or confusion in our timeline.
Who we once were shapes who we now are. But if we’re going to move forward confidently, we need to spend a lot more time gazing at a clear-view mirror.
What are my strengths? Where does my performance excel? What’s my DNA, my professional makeup, and how does that map to my current career path?
Sometimes we’re afraid of the truth about ourselves, because embracing our unique makeup – getting a clear view and owning it – may mean change.
After our morning shower, we instinctively wipe the mirror so we can see clearly. We need a clear-view mirror for our professional souls as well.
Let’s do that today with one simple exercise – turn that rear-view mirror*, look yourself right in the eye, and answer this question: What’s the portrait I truly want to paint with the rest of my days here on earth?
Write it down. Embrace it. Begin. Past is prologue – it is not destiny (to paraphrase Shakespeare). Change a few words in the post above, and this advice applies equally well to your small business.
Choose your direction from the clear-view mirror, not just the rear-view mirror.
*ummm, please – not while driving, OK? ;>}
You are capable of doing 10 things.
You CAN sell. You CAN manage a project. You CAN do manual labor. You CAN teach. You CAN design floral arrangements.
We all have a list of things we’ve done in the past, or do in the present.
But our focus should be the one or two things that we SHOULD be doing.
Each of us has uniquely differentiating strengths. Something to offer the world, to offer potential clients. Something where we can be at our best.
We need a career role that is not a commodity. If you’re doing what lots of others can do, and it isn’t your unique gift, you’re in the commodity zone. You also may experience Impostor Syndrome (constantly feeling like a fraud).
Just because someone else has defined a role and its responsibilities doesn’t mean that you have to fit that uniform (which was never measured around you).
You are probably doing one or two of your SHOULD things (or have done them), but don’t recognize that all the rest of your capabilities need to become subordinate. Your current role may be 90% “can,” and 10% “should.”
Step back and take an honest look. List out 10 things you do. Then cross out eight of them. Maybe even nine.
There is your future direction.
There are millions of companies out there providing something-or-other, and millions of people doing some-job-or-other.
Don’t be one of them. Claim your market[place].
You have a unique sweet spot as a company, an offering that sets you apart. That’s your [place] in the market.
As an individual, you are developing skills and competencies that are shaping you for a particularly “fitting” role. That’s your [place] in the market of work (whether working for others, or self-employed).
Your primary job, right now, isn’t winning the next project, or grabbing the next available job opening up the ladder. It’s knowing and defining your market[place].
The best way to find your niche, your sweet spot, is by asking for the honest input of trusted others (including clients and co-workers). Generally speaking, they will see more clearly than you do where you fit. You can also get outside help by way of an assessment and professional counsel.
But either way, don’t bounce from place to place based on circumstance. Claim your market[place]. And grow from there.