6 Steps to Investing in Your Sweet Spots

sweet spot
This is a guest post by Kevin Lawrence. Kevin is the author of Your Oxygen Mask First.

Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” — Marilyn von Savant, highest recorded IQ in the Guinness Book of Records

Nicole is the kind of executive you trust with your biggest, craziest projects. She figures things out when everyone else throws up their hands in frustration. If it’s wild and ambitious, or difficult and seemingly unsolvable, Nicole is your go-to person.

Despite her long history of strategizing and launching successful projects, Nicole kept getting the same unpleasant feedback in performance reviews. She was celebrated for her heroism at the launch phase, but criticized for her inability to be a solid day-to-day manager, once her projects were operational.

Year after year she tried to hone her managerial skills, attempting to morph into the type of executive who deftly oversees an established program. But boredom overtook, and she’d find herself distracted by the prospect of a brand new challenge.

She’d think something was wrong with her, believing she must lack ability or strategic thinking. The guilt dragged her down at work – and at home.

 

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” -Marilyn von Savant

 

What is a Sweet Spot?

Your sweet spot is an actual thing, not just an abstract idea.

It’s doing the things you love to do the way you love to do them.

It also happens to be where you deliver by far the most value. Your sweet spot talents are so indisputable it is criminal to waste your energy elsewhere. This is where you have vitality and inspiration, oxygen coursing through your system.

Unfortunately, conventional wisdom leads you to believe you’re supposed to care about improving your weaknesses. This is nonsense. It’s a path that leads to mediocrity. And ultimately, it’s a sure-fire recipe for disaster, physically and mentally. It drains your oxygen supply, depleting your energy, creativity and enthusiasm for life.

How the Best Companies Stay Relevant

shift

How to Stay Relevant

The number one reason for organizational success or failure is the ability to stay relevant. Staying ahead of the continual marketplace changes may seem an impossible task. How do you continually evolve at a pace that keeps you ahead of the curve?

In SHIFT AHEAD: How the Best Companies Stay Relevant in a Fast-Changing World, authors Allen Adamson and Joel Steckel explore why some organizations can continually evolve to meet the times and the marketplace, and why others struggle to keep up. Allen is co-founder and managing partner of Metaforce and brings over thirty years of experience in building iconic brands. Joel is an expert on marketing research and branding. He is currently Vice Dean for Doctoral Education at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

I spoke with Allen about the book and their research.

 

“Focusing too much on the competition can lead to inappropriate shifts. It’s the customer that really counts.” -Adamson and Steckel

 

The Case of Blackberry

You share many examples and case studies about companies that just plain missed some key changes. Some ended up obsolete and others struggled for years. Would you share an example and what went wrong?

One of my favorite examples of “what went wrong” is the story of the rise and fall of Blackberry. For those who may not remember, Blackberry was once the indispensable mobile communication device of choice for heads of corporations, heads of state, and the Hollywood elite. It was an easy, secure and effective device that allowed workers to send and receive emails and phone calls while away from the office. The functionality of its tactile keyboard made typing easy, and it built its initial reputation on the concept of security. This was all before Apple and Android smartphones had taken hold.

The quick answer about why it fell so precipitously is that Blackberry’s inability to shift and move forward was caused by its own sense of invincibility, inward group-think, and general arrogance. With the rise of in popularity of iPhones and Androids, those at the helm saw only what they wanted to see. They considered these new devices not as significant competition, but as toys, a passing trend. They arrogantly laughed off the threat that was materializing in front of them instead of figuring out how to defend against it.  As we all know, not only were these smartphones built for ease of communication on multiple platforms, they were beautiful to look at. They became just too much to resist for even the most security-centric audience of users.

Too-little-too-late is what Blackberry eventually did in response, which was exactly what it shouldn’t have done. It began to chase the market with subpar versions of the competitors’ brilliant models, wrongly assuming that its core customers would follow with them. That did not happen. The producers of Blackberry should have doubled down on what made the product so vital to its initial loyal audience. It should have kept its focus on its point of relevant differentiation in the marketplace – security – and capitalized on it. No brand, product, or organization is invincible, especially when it dismisses the needs of its most loyal audience.

 

Shift Ahead

7 Game Changers To Improve Your Leadership Position

Shift Your State

Anese Cavanaugh’s new work, Contagious Culture: Show Up, Set the Tone, and Intentionally Create an Organization that Thrives is a terrific guide to upping your leadership and creating a positive, contagious atmosphere.

After our first interview, I thought to ask Anese about some of her tips for shifting someone’s state. Why? Because it’s one of the most important aspect of leadership. The ability to help someone from one state to another is a skill that every leader should master.

 

Leadership Tip: Increase your awareness of what is working and the impact your choices have.

 

7 Game Changers

In your work as an advisor and “thinking partner” to leaders and organizations, you developed 7 game changers to shift someone’s state. What has been your experience using them as a coaching tool?Anese Cavanaugh

I’ve found that even offering these as places for people to look can make them game changers within themselves. So much of this work is about awareness. Awareness as to what’s working – and what’s not, awareness of their role and impact in how things are and how their choices have led them here, awareness that they can choose, awareness that there’s dissatisfaction, awareness of the impact their relationships have on them (and vice versa), and awareness that they can very much in fact do something to shift things – even if that something is just getting a bit of extra water, finding ONE thing they’re grateful for, telling someone they see how great they are, taking ownership and cleaning something up, asking for help, or finding (and claiming) the request (or wish) that lives underneath their complaint. Once they have awareness that these 7 things have impact – they can get into action. Big or small.

 

7 Game Changers To Improve Your Leadership Position

1: Do your work. Be accountable for your choices.

2: Stop complaining and start resolving.

3: Ask for help-admit your glorious imperfections.

4: Surround yourself with good people.

5: Practice gratitude, even for the stuff that hurts.

6: Eat well. Really well. Move your body. Drink water.

7: Love your kids. Love your friends. Love your people. Love yourself. Remember who you are.

 

Simple ways to integrate these 7 points is to take each one and try it on for a day. For example, ask: Where do I need to show up bigger? Where can I be more accountable for the choices I’ve made? How did my choices lead me here? What choice can I make now to start shifting this in the right direction? How would I like things to be instead? Where do I need help? Where am I making “looking good” more important than asking for help or creating real and positive impact? Who’s my professional posse / my advisory board? How am I taking care of myself? (Truly?) What’s the littlest thing I can do to shift ANY of these? Little things make big ripples.

 

Shift From Complaining to Doing

Get Your Shift Together!

Image courtesy of istockphoto/AndrewJShearer

Steve Rizzo is The Attitude Adjuster. You can’t attend one of his seminars or read his books and leave with the same attitude.  He is a personal development expert, comedian, motivational speaker and author. His popular PBS special brought him into millions of homes. It’s no surprise that he’s been inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame. His latest book Get Your Shift Together is one that I just had to share. I had the opportunity to ask a Steve a few questions about his life and his new book.

Let Go and Yield To a Higher Purpose

Steve, everyone would say that you were on the top of your game. As a comedian you were a national headliner, sharing the stage with Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Dennis Miller, Ellen DeGeneres and many others.  Your roommate was Drew Carey!  But, you made a decision to leave comedy and start over in a new career.  Tell me about that decision.Steve Funny

Growing up as a child, I acquired many fears and limiting beliefs about myself and the world that surrounded me.  Unaware, I carried many of those unresolved negative labels and limiting beliefs into my comedy career.  As a result, I kept sabotaging many opportunities that were coming my way. I knew I had the talent, but I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting my big break. I eventually figured out that I had a fear of failure AND a fear of success. (Talk about not being able to make up your mind.)  So I went on a self-help quest to better myself.  I read countless self-help books, went to personal development seminars, and listened to motivational CD’s.  I was determined to turn my life around.

Through the years I noticed a major shift taking place within me.  I guess you can say I was starting to get my SHIFT together. Eventually, the comedy industry was starting to show a lot of interest.  Ironically I was no longer interested in them. I was being called to do something else with my life.  This gradual shift that was taking place led me to my true purpose in life, which is to show people how to be happy and successful, regardless of their circumstances.  The tools that I used to better myself are the very tools that I use when I speak to groups throughout the country and around the world.

My quest to overcome the obstacles that were keeping me from the life I truly desired has brought my work full circle. I am truly grateful that I’ve come to the understanding that I didn’t quit stand-up comedy.  I simply let go and yielded to a greater purpose.  A new dream.  Okay, I didn’t simply let go.  At times I held on with white knuckles in a desperate grip, kicking and screaming!  The point is, when I finally did let go, I was free to pursue my true dream–to use humor and the power of positive thinking to help people learn the skills they need to get to a better place at work and in life.

Train Yourself to Be Happy, Confident & Successful