Identifying Your One Thing

One-thing

Several years ago when I worked as a Youth Pastor I came across a book called The 1 Thing: What everyone craves – that your church can deliver.

It was a good, not great book, but the message was simple: build relationships. In the context of “church” it’s a crystal-clear way to set your mission.

Here’s how it applies to you: what do you do best? What is your 1 thing?

If you don’t know, keep reading…

As a huge supporter and user of the StrengthsFinder assessment, I believe everyone should live/function out of their strengths. This particular test reveals your Top 5 strengths and how to use them in your personal and professional life. It’s a great application tool towards becoming the best version of yourself, but I’d like to challenge you to take it a step further.

My Top 5 results from the StrengthsFinder are: Relator, Individualization, Maximizer, Arranger & Strategic. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the terminology, the reason I’m using this example is from these 5 themes, my most marketable talent is: efficiency (Maximizer).

I’m obsessed with efficiency. I plan out everything (even though it rarely plays out the way I envision it). I care about “flow,” punctuality and running ahead of schedule. I apply this strength to the one thing I do best: lead Millennials (that’s why my blog is called Maximizing the Millennial).

The point of my example isn’t to bring attention to myself. It’s to show you narrowing your brand down to one thing is powerful.

People do contact me about career coaching, but I don’t proactively market it. I have other skill sets and interests that excite me, but I don’t focus on them. Customers want to know the one thing you do and how you do it the best. That’s why they hire you.

Job descriptions desire generalists, but within those multitude of tasks they still want to know your speciality. Not only will identifying your 1 thing help you answer the dreaded interview question, “what are your strengths?” It defines your brand.

You can’t be anything you want to be, you can only be the best version of you (2.0). So what’s your 1 thing?

The #1 Reason You’ll Leave Your Job

career_lightbulb

The #1 reason why you’ll leave your (current) job is: lack of career development a.k.a. growth opportunities.

From first glance there’s an assumption that includes a promotion, but not necessarily. The need for career advice is on the rise because most people don’t know what they want to do and/or they change their mind often. Blame social media or a plethora of options, but regardless its reality. Let’s start from the company’s perspective:

Why should we invest professional growth resources into employees who might end up leaving?

First response: efficiency. Back in 2008-09 when the recession started, the first thing to go was “luxury” items such as training. Jobs were being cut drastically and our economy went in the tank. The only job that was safe was: sales (gotta make money to stay in business). If you want people to perform better, they have to be trained. Some companies take the shortcut by hiring “experienced” workers then throw them in the fire. That’s one approach, but even if they know the skill set to accomplish the work, the culture is still a mystery. The reason most leaders micromanage is because they never train people under them properly. Part of career development is training on the job (feedback included) and figuring out if the role is a good fit. If it’s not, here’s the perfect segue into the next point.

Second response: saves time/money. If you’re concerned about pouring into an employee, then having them leave, don’t. If you had someone working for you and they didn’t want to be there wouldn’t you want to know earlier than later? Hopefully this gets caught during the interview process, but if it doesn’t training only reveals it. If you’re working for a company who invests in your professional growth, wouldn’t you be more motivated to work harder for them? This may sound too altruistic, but most people’s performance starts to decline (outside of personal issues) when they feel undervalued/under-appreciated. Practically speaking, helping people navigate their career path will provide clarity for the individual as well as the company.

In simplistic terms, here’s the equation: if my company takes care of me, I will take care of their customers.

Great customer service = brand loyalty = higher profits.

The most direct way to take care of people is invest in their career growth.

This is not a futuristic concept. This is current.

Retention is tied directly to career development, or lack thereof.

How Working Remotely Benefits Your Health

Remote-working

Employing remote workers increases the pool of talent for your company. Telecommuting, once thought of as a perk, now levels the playing field.

Theoretically it can pose challenges to management but if done right, supervision shouldn’t vary much. At the heart of managing remote workers is trust. It is literally impossible to micromanage remotely, yet there’s the temptation to in person.

There are several books and online articles that cover managing a remote staff, but few address the benefits health-wise. Here are three ways:

1. Lack of germs – Experiencing the flu can make you a germaphobe, but in a shared workspace it’s almost impossible to avoid the common cold. Working remotely means you’re communicating virtually, but working independently. Not only does the lack of commute save time, but eliminating travel and interaction equates to less trips to the doctor annually.

2. Increased efficiency – Meetings are a waste of time, especially when they’re run poorly. Two brains are better than one, but distractions decrease performance rapidly. No matter how social of a person you are, working alone produces a much higher rate (and usually with less mistakes). With less scheduled interactions, more quality work gets done.

3. Self-leadership – Strip management from the room and there’s a fear of completed tasks. But shouldn’t you be motivated to get stuff done without someone breathing down your neck? As an entrepreneur, the first thing to go is structure when free from the corporate world. Your responsibility is to create order or risk wasting time. A hard lesson to learn initially, self-accountability means you can be trusted.

More and more companies choose to hire remote workers meaning new leadership practices must be implemented. Quality of lifestyle is becoming the most important factor professionally. The more you are informed about the benefits of working remotely, the easier the transition will be to make. Your body, mind and emotions will thank you for it later.

OED: Obsessive Efficiency Disorder

work smarter

I admit I’m obsessed with efficiency. To me it’s about working smarter, not harder. Planning my week out ahead of time means I can maximize my time the way I want. Since time is equal to all, I just want to make sure I’m optimizing mine.

For those of you who can’t relate because you feel disorganized, here’s some practical tips to control your schedule:

1) Use your Smartphone Calendar Daily. iPhone users have the luxury of syncing everything (as long as you have Apple products) so once you devices are connected, you have no excuse to forget dates, run errands and pay bills with alerts and reminders. There are three color coded categories preset: work, home and social/out. I encourage you to put everything you do in your phone. That includes meetings, when to exercise, follow-up emails, paying bills, projects, etc. Putting events in your phone means you don’t have to remember them. It’s like working on auto-pilot. Our brains aren’t meant to multitask (no matter what you’ve heard before), therefore make it easier on your brain by setting alerts.

2) Network Spreadsheet. Relationships are your greatest asset. Remember that. It doesn’t matter how career-driven or lazy you are, you need people. One thing that has helped me tremendously is tracking my contacts. I use Numbers (Apple’s version of Excel) to organize all the people I’ve met into different lists (similar to Twitter). In each category, I color code based on how I last contacted someone: black – email, blue – phone/Skype, green – in person, orange – text and red – need to get back to them. I also date it so I know how long ago since the last time we communicated. On top of that I use LinkedIn to write a note to myself about how we met and what we last talked about so I can pick up the conversation where we left off. Also take into consider prioritizing. I go from left to right. On the left side are people I need to keep in touch with so the frequency is more. Towards the right are people I just met so it’s not as frequent, but if our relationship grows they move “left” on the spreadsheet. You don’t have to use a system like this, but its just an example of how I organize my network.

3) Leave Gaps. As someone who’s goal-oriented, I like to achieve. The worst thing I can do is pack my schedule too tight where I get behind early and can’t finish what I intend to accomplish. Let’s say you have a coffee meeting that is supposed to last 30 minutes. Factor in the commute, extra time to talk, one of you being late, etc. and I’m sure the time slot allotted will be much higher. It takes some experimentation, but in the end you can estimate pretty accurately over time. We live in a world where everyone is in a rush, so why not go against the grain? I’m not saying be slow, but give yourself extra time to get stuff done. Back to the whole multitasking concept, give yourself a break between tasks to rest. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up to make mistakes. On a personal note when I planned the majority of my wedding, I put this idea of “leaving gaps” into action. As I worked in tandem with our wedding coordinator, I created a schedule for everyone involved (imagine getting separate timelines from the groom). The result: our family and friends said we were the most relaxed couple they’ve ever seen get married. That’s because the planning and preparation were done ahead so once it was showtime, we had nothing to be worried about.

You can tell by these examples that efficiency matters to me. It’s what I pride myself on and the standard I hold others to. I realize everyone doesn’t think the same as me and that’s fine. But if any of these tips can help you become more efficient, this post was worth writing. So have fun working smarter, not harder!

Winsight Episode 38: Why Less is More

less is more

 

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/winsight/38_Winsight_Episode_38_-_Why_Less_is_More.mp3]

 

Why is less more? We hear that motto thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean?

I believe it boils down to focus. As much as we can debate whether males or females are better at multitasking, biologically we’re both not meant to do it. That means in today’s world of instant gratification and multi-sensory overload when you’re engaged in more than one task at a time, you’re scattered and more opt to being distracted and making mistakes.

In this episode we’ll discuss the following:

  • Work environment: how/where you can do your best work
  • Why focus is achieved by elimination
  • What Kobe Bryant has done less of to accomplish more
  • How the answer to the question, “What do you do?” reveals if you do less or more

Doing less seems contradictory in today’s world, but it’s not. What is something you can do less of to accomplish more?