In a *shocking* bit of news, I recently learned this:
Not everyone is a superhero entrepreneur running his own show. This world (believe it or not) still has plenty of people .
On the off chance that you aren’t working 4 hours a week on some beach, slamming back cocktails with your high profile clients who you sell novelty Pac Man lunchboxes, you might find this guide helpful.
I’m not going to undersell this: These three 3 areas helped me double my income in less than two years with a big company. Each time, they created a new position for me. There wasn’t one waiting.
Know the need
Read that again. Make sure it didn’t say “know the job.”
Your job description will be outdated within a year at most. Why? Because a company is a living thing with problems and inefficiencies popping up more than those ads on your least favorite site.
Instead, figure out why you were hired in the first place. Look beyond the task and see the need.
> They don’t need you to “format manuals”, they need to communicate information to new employees.
> They don’t need you to be “proficient in graphic design software,” they need you to help bring their brand into the 21st century.
> They don’t need you to “keep the books,” they need you to save them money.
The employee who is need-focused will be valued. The one who is task-focused will be replaced.
Probably by a computer.
Know the people
I have written about Pat, my favorite IT guy before.
The other day we were having a conversation:
Me: Why do you think you get so many support tickets?
Pat: Well, it could be because of [X,Y,Z].
Me: Any chance you guys have some kind of data?
Pat: You know what, we do! Would you like to look at it?
Over the next 90 minutes of conversation, Pat identified for me the need of his department. Then, he told me the likely causes. Then (this is the best part), he told me exactly how to fix it.
People do not have a lack of problems. They have a lack of time and a lack of listeners. Ask enough questions, and the person will eventually identify not only the problem, but also the solution. After that, your only job is to try and connect them with the resources necessary to execute that solution.
By the way, you don’t need to know what you are talking about. You need only be interested. In the case of Pat, I had enough knowledge to hang on to our conversation by a thread. I probably said “what’s that mean?” seven or eight times in half an hour.
At the end of it, though, I’d learned several new things and we both figured out a way for him to save time (and money).
The more people you know, the more needs you identify. The more needs you identify, the more invisible dots you can connect across the company.
The dot-connector is irreplaceable.
After I wrapped a podcast with a friend a couple weeks ago, he steered me to the Book in a Box website. We looked at this screen.
“‘Extensive use of talented freelancers,’” he said. “Do you know what that means?”
“Um…” I said . (Apparently I used up all my smart words on the interview).
“It means they have no employees.”
Why would they have them? They are a new business. No employees means no HR, no light bill, no travel for anyone, no 401K, no insurance nonsense*. There is only the work, the money, and people doing things for other people.
(*BIAB actually does have a “tribe,” which I assume is their employee base. Not sure how big it is, but my guess is there are many more freelancers than employees)
I hate saying things like “you should always,” or “you must.” Instead, I’ll phrase it this way:
People who know themselves best are the most successful.
Best I can tell, knowing yourself comes in two parts:
Knowing your purpose
No matter what I am physically doing, I am best at doing these three things:
- Taking complex topics and simplifying them
- Motivating and encouraging everyone
- Making people feel accepted and welcome
That’s it. All I do needs to fall in these three guidelines. There are no finish lines, so I can’t “complete” them. There are no boundaries — I’m not going to motivate people in my online writing but fail to do so at my office job. No breaks. No excuses. Every second I am breathing, I want to be fulfilling my purpose.
You have a purpose too. Did you know that? I feel like I needed to tell you. You may not be a businessperson. You may not be an artist. You may not be a fitness guru. But there is a purpose you were brought here for.
As for the avenue which you realize that purpose? That comes down to:
Knowing your skills
Your skills are the shoes of your purpose. Most of the time, people are excellent at telling other people what they are good at, but terrible at identifying their own strengths.
Do me a favor: Write down 10 things you are good at. Do it right now. Don’t even finish this article. I don’t care if one of them is “Microsoft Word” and one of them is “fixing toilets.” Maybe it’s “shopping” or “cooking.”
Before you ask, yes, you have to write 10.
From there, ask yourself two questions:
- How does each of these tie in to my purpose?
- Am I doing at least one of these every day?
Honestly, I’m more concerned about the second question than I am the first. Trying to figure out a purpose scares people. But doing something that you are good at every day is a no-brainer to me.
Remember, every day. Repetition leads to skill. Skill leads to mastery. Mastery leads to confidence. Confidence leads to curiosity. Curiosity leads to new interests. Then you plug that new interest into repetition and start all over.
One day, you will look up and be good at several different things without quite knowing how that happened.
One day, you will accept new challenges, not run from them, because you know you can do anything.
One day, you will take over the world.
Much love as always,