You! Yes, you! Did you know that you have an untapped resource pulsing just beneath your skin?
No, it’s not that fourth shot of espresso. It’s your Unique Ability.
We often speak about investing in companies, strategies, and technologies. But seeing as you are a visionary within your organization, I would argue that you are more important than any of these.
You might be saying, “yes, I know I am the human equivalent of finding an extra order of fries in your takeout, but that doesn’t mean I can do it all.” I hear you. That’s the best part of what we’re discussing today: it’s the whole point.
You can’t do it all, but what you can do well, you do better than anyone. Isn’t it time you made that a bigger part of your day?
Focusing on your Unique Ability means starting small, but it has the potential to transform your organization from the inside out. How’s a five-minute read for a lifelong lesson for value?
I did it for myself and my business, and share the results every chance I get—this is a whole blog post, isn’t it? Let’s get into it so you can begin to find the same success in what you do.
What is a “Unique Ability?”
Unique Ability is a means of framing your workday to focus on the tasks you excel at and gradually separate yourself from the tasks that you don’t enjoy or are less productive when undertaking. It requires only some self-reflection, a checklist, and radical honesty.
It makes sense when you think about it—like the old adage “time flies when you’re having fun.” To begin visualizing abilities in terms of “tiers,” we’ll work downwards from the top.
Are there any tasks coming up that you genuinely enjoy doing? Something that feels effortless as it passes your hands? Those are called your “Unique Abilities,” and they should be the focus of your day.
Beneath those are activities that you would consider yourself Excellent in performing. Perhaps they don’t fulfill you as much as your Unique Ability, but they don’t take away from your limited energy pool. These could be the things that you pick up from the plates of others when they are overwhelmed, since to you, it’s water off a duck’s back.
Further down the checklist, you find yourself with tasks that you consider yourself “Competent” at. This is where you don’t necessarily shine, but you’re not going to fake a crippled limb to get out of doing these tasks. For many business owners, this is where their hours end up when the organization grows too big without enough hands to help it along independent of their time.
At the bottom of this list are the energy drains. Those post-it to-do’s that stare at you down from the wall like the beady eyes of vultures. We call these Incompetent abilities—where you are neither fulfilled nor good at it. If your headache was personified, it would look like these tasks.
To recap, your daily efforts can be broke down into four categories: Unique Ability Activities, Excellent Activities, Competent Activities, and Incompetent Activities.
With that in mind, here comes the re-shuffling that will change your life.
Take a look at your day and pick the top five activities that invigorate you or remind you why you come in every day. Now take the top five tasks that frustrate you or bog you down.
From there, make a plan for the next ninety days or even the next month—how can I do more of what I like and less of what I don’t?
Freeing yourself from unwanted tasks involves either delegation or outsourcing. If you’ve ever hesitated to transfer these tasks to different hands, think about it from the perspective of your unique abilities. You’re not “giving up;” you’re liberating yourself (and your business!) to capitalize on what you are best at.
For your staff, wouldn’t you do the same? Would you tell your copywriter to muck the chicken coops and tell your graphic designer to file the tax forms? Hell no!
So why are you stapling papers when you could be taking your company to the moon?
Sadly, we can very rarely eat our dessert for every meal. Still, after a bit, your day should look roughly like the following if you are optimizing by Unique Ability:
20% Unique Ability Activities
50% Competent Activities
20% Competent Activities
10% Incompetent Activities
Every time you revisit your strategy, pick a new top five and bottom five. Keep going, keep optimizing. You never know what creative strategy you could be unlocking through accepting yourself and your unique strengths.
As I mentioned, this strategy has helped me reshape my life and my business—and I’ve barely touched the surface.
Being honest about yourself means being honest with your customers about how you can best serve them. The point isn’t to be Superman—the point is to walk away from your day feeling like you did some good in the world.
If you’re looking to explore how you can step away from aspects of your business which drag you down, let’s have a chat! Outsourcing your marketing, hiring a fractional CMO, or even taking part in any of my Level-Up classes can help you stop compromising on your strengths and tripping over your weaknesses.