Focus on What You Do Best

What's your one thing?

Remember when I told you that success often meant taking a corner in someone's mind? I called it taking a corner. But I didn't exactly tell you how to do it, other than to focus on your one thing. I'm not Jack Palance, and maybe you've not seen City Slickers, but if you have, there's no way you can think about your 1 thing, without thinking about him. He's taken that corner in my brain.

Today I want to share with you five different techniques for figuring out your one thing. When you do, you'll see how much time you were wasting doing all the other stuff that wasn't your one thing. It doesn't matter if it doesn't fit with your job today…find ways to bring it together.

Five strategies to tease out your “one” thing

Here are five strategies that I often suggest. You can take them in any order, but they only spell HEART in this order.

1. Help others. Volunteer in a variety of capacities. Which would you keep doing for free forever. That's likely a keeper. I often find that the stuff you’re willing to do for free feeds your interests, skills & passions in a way that highlights your gift mix.

2. Eliminate what you do that you do because you have to. This is pretty simple. Write down a list of stuff you do every day. Now kill the stuff you only do because you have to. Even if you’ve developed skill in an area, if it doesn’t excite you (and even frustrates you sometimes), it’s likely not a candidate for what you do best.

3. Ask yourself what annoys you. I know I just mentioned that something that frustrates you may not be your sweet spot. But there are exceptions. If you’re witnessing someone do something and all that’s running through your mind is how they could do it better (and bothers you that they’re doing it “wrong”), you might find your natural talent poking at you.

4. Reflect. Think about the moments when you're working on something but getting energy instead of losing it. That's a good sign that you’ve found an area where you can get in the “flow.”

5. Take an Assessment! Marcus Buckingham has a great strengths survey to help you stand out. I’ve also mentioned five other assessments you might enjoy.

Now focus on what you do best

When you know what your one thing is, you can find ways to integrate it into everything you do.

But that doesn't happen – it can't happen – if you don't know what it is. You know the other thing that gets in the way? All the other stuff.

You've heard Stephen Covey's big rocks example, right? He puts big rocks in a jar, then medium rocks, then small rocks, then tiny rocks, and then sand. At the end, he asks people what the lesson is. They're response often was something like, “look how much stuff you can fit in there,” and his response was – “The real lesson is that if you don't put the big rocks in first, they won't fit in later.”

Want to focus on what you do best? You have to start with it. It's not an afterthought.

And don't believe the lie that you have to do everything at your best. That's a lie. I don't cook meals at my best. I don't walk up or down the stairs at my best. There's tons of things I do sub-optimally, so that I can focus on the things I truly care about.

When you do that…it's likely people will remember you for that, and when that happens – you'll have found what you’re best at.