sweetspot

Fear of Making the Wrong Choice

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, Sweetspot, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 1 min.

Fear of making the wrong choice is one reason we may not commit to a career, market niche, or organizational strategy. “What if I/we choose this option and it’s not quite right? What if I/we choose this one and then learn of a better one? After all the investment in this one, I/we couldn’t go back.”

The antidote to this fear is to find our (or our organization’s) SweetSpot. From our SweetSpot we can generate many possible strategies, careers, and niches that would be delightful, meaningful, rewarding, and satisfying. This is true because, by definition, our SweetSpot (personal or organizational) is the set of criteria for having a delightful, meaningful, rewarding, and satisfying career, niche, or strategy.

When we choose something that matches our SweetSpot, we will be happy. Pick one and go.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Flóra Soós cc

boats

Is Everyone Rowing In The Same Direction?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 1 min.

Here’s an exercise: Ask everyone at work today, “Who are we? What does our organization do? For whom? Why do we do that?”

If your organization is like most, you will get as many answers as people you ask. And that’s quite a problem. A big part of the success of any organization is having a clear, compelling, and commonly understood goal.  In order to have everyone rowing in the same direction, they need to know what that direction is and why it’s important.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: The organization’s goal includes descriptions of what we do for whom, why, and what we get out of it.

PPS: We do not mean for them to regurgitate verbatim the mission statement hanging on the wall of the break room. If everyone gets the general theme, they should be able to say it in their own words. And it’s okay to have variations on the theme. Each person’s unique impression of the theme adds richness and strength.

PPPS: The next question to ask everyone is, “How does or should your work contribute to and benefit from the work of this organization?”

 

Today’s photo credit: Philip Kraaijenbrink cc

nudge

Nudge Your Career (and your organization’s strategy) Back Into Alignment

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Strategy, Sweetspot
Reading time: 2 min.

When we are in our SweetSpot, work ceases to be a stress or struggle.

Where there is stress or struggle, we are out of our SweetSpot. That means we are misaligned in one or more of these four ways:

  • We are not using enough of our talents,
  • We are not engaging enough with and seeing enough rewards from our care-abouts,
  • We are not solving enough compelling problems for other people or groups of people, and/or
  • We are not having enough of our needs, wants, and desires met.

Sometimes, we need only give our selves a nudge in the right direction.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

PS: The last one, “not having enough of our needs, wants, and desires met,” is the most common misalignment. And often we are unaware of it. We feel bad and justify it with “yeah, but…” statements such as, “Yeah, but, I can’t make the kind of money I want to in that career.” What are your “yeah, buts”?

PPS: Our organizations can be out of alignment with their SweetSpots, too. We can nudge them back by aligning the organization’s strategy with the its talents, care-abouts, needs/wants/desires, and with the compelling problems it solves for other people and groups of people.

 

Today’s photo credit: Sarah Fagg cc

42

Meaning?

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Leading, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 1 min.

Is there an ultimate answer to the question, “Why?” Are life, the universe, and everything teeming with meaning? Or is it all particles and waves that randomly bash about guided by a few basic rules? Do our answers these questions do anything practical for our work, life, and happiness?

Yup.

Regardless of which way we see things, we all ache for meaning. Without it, we suffer distractions and loss. When we have it, we thrive. And our organizations thrive when there is a clear, compelling meaning in our work. As leaders, part of our job is to steward this clear, compelling meaning.

The very good news is that we, as people and in organizations, get to choose. It turns out that whatever we say is meaningful is meaningful.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Even if we think life is random particles and waves, we are choosing meaning. When we declare, “There is no meaning,” we make “no meaning” our clear, compelling meaning. And it can be just as fulfilling as choosing love, capitalism, unicorns, wealth, health, service, or cheesecake to be our meaning.

 

Today’s photo credit: Sharon Drummond via photopin cc

doc

Career Checkup

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Sweetspot
Reading time: 1 min.

The criteria: Our work is successful and meaningful to the extent that it uses our talents, engages our passions, meets our needs/wants/desires, and helps others (individuals and/or organizations) solve problems that we find compelling or interesting.

With these criteria in mind, let’s do a career checkup. Explore the following questions. Write down your answers.

How would you rank your current work against those four criteria? How could you adjust your current work to better match these criteria? What projects, roles, or businesses could you do next that would best match these criteria? What obstacles might stand between you and your next career move? Finally, how might you navigate past those obstacles?

So, Doc, how is the patient doing?

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Dr.Farouk via photopin cc

treasure

Discover For Yourself

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Success
Reading time: 1 min.

Don’t push yourself to do all the things on your growing to-do list. Don’t be driven by other people’s opinions. Trust yourself and others. Go for true win-win. Find and operate from your personal and organizational SweetSpot. Ignore what everyone says are the tried-and-true steps to success. Just find a way to feel good then act as inspired and all will be well.

Hmm. How do statements like this sound to you?

Like a charlatan’s prescription for the credulous, advice like this can seem like snake oil. “It’s a trick,” you may think. “It can’t be true, it can’t work, and it will probably harm me.”

Of course, nothing I say here can convince you otherwise. I could be trying to trick you right now.

But you can discover for yourself. You can find a safe way to experiment with the tools, models, and approaches I describe. Set aside whatever doesn’t work for you. And adopt as you see fit whatever does work for you.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: garlandcannon via photopin cc

land

The Simpler Way To Land A Job

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Job search
Reading time: 2 min.

Landing a job can be a hard and unrewarding endeavor. We can waste time and drain our psyches by trolling job boards, sending out résumés, attending networking events, going on dead-end interviews, and hoping.

Yet there is a simpler way to land a job. First, we become killer candidates. Second, we grow our network until it includes our next employers.

We can all become killer candidates. It is not about becoming someone we are not, gussying up our resume to fit what we think employers are looking for. It is not participating in a form of beauty pageant, looking just so, doing the right things, and putting on our best, fake behavior. It is being crystal clear about who we are, who our ideal potential employers are, what they really need, and how what we offer will help them.

You can start by figuring out your SweetSpot (and more here).  Use it to know which types of people or organizations you want to work for. Use it also to craft an elevator speech, a résumé, and a cover letter that resonate with those people and organizations.

Next have conversations (interviews) with your ideal potential employers. Focus neither on how wonderful your qualifications are nor on jumping through hoops to please. Instead, focus on understanding what the hiring manager is trying to accomplish overall and how, if this role is done well, it would contribute to that hiring manager’s and the overall company’s success. Only then can you explain how you and what you offer can help.

To have those conversations, grow your network. Read this to learn how. Start with the people you know and trust. As you proceed, pay a bit of extra attention to the people you meet who are really good at networking including the mavens and the high-integrity professional recruiters.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Even when we do them well, job searches can have us feeling bad at times. Remember to take good care of yourself and to feel good, then act.

 

Today’s photo credit: Frans Zwart via photopin cc

SweetSpot 2014

Four Ways To Know You’re In the Right (or Wrong) Career

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Sweetspot
Reading time: 1 min.

Work that doesn’t use your talents is work you should have others do.

Work that doesn’t engage your passions is a dead end.

Work that doesn’t meet your needs, wants, and/or desires is martyrdom.

Work that doesn’t solve compelling problems for other people or organizations is a hobby.

Work that engages all four of these factors–talents, passions, needs/wants/desires, and compelling problems–is work in your SweetSpot. It is meaningful, fun, profitable, and rewarding.

Which is nice.

 

In your corner,

Mike

error

The One Success Error We All Make

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 2 min.

To be successful, we must first define success. Looking inside ourselves for definitions of success leads to satisfaction, creativity, energy, happiness, and/or meaning. Looking outside leads to empty achievement, perpetual dissatisfaction, learned helplessness, burnout, superficiality, frustration, and regret. Ouch.

We know this. We see how externally-defined success leads us and others to chase money, fame, stuff, titles, and accolades in the dire hope of being happy.

Yet we make an old error that has us abandon our internal definitions and default to external ones. This error has two parts. We first conclude that, because an externally-driven life is bad, we must become saintly abstainers. Second, because that sounds rather dull, we conclude that an internally-driven life is yucky or impossible (for us) so we might as well chase what everyone else is chasing.

See the flaw? An externally-driven life is bad. But a life lived in the world is delicious.

We need neither withdraw from the outside world nor allow it to be our master. We will embrace the outside world to show and let us play with things we like and things we don’t, with splendor and squalor, with light and dark. We will constantly draw from the outside world to inform our internally-generated goals and definitions of success.

That balance, mes amis, corrects the error.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

PS: We use this internal + external balance to find your personal SweetSpot-based career.

PPS: We also use it for your business. Where you see things like perpetual dissatisfaction or burnout in your organization, you are seeing the symptoms of the whole place chasing externally defined success. (I know, right! Mind=blown.)

PPPS: The really good news is that succeeding based on internally-defined measures generates all the externally-noticed-and-appreciated success you or your organization could ever want.

 

Today’s photo credit: AndyRobertsPhotos via photopin cc

ideas

What To Do With All Those Great Ideas

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

We can come up with some pretty great ideas for projects, businesses, jobs, and adventures we’d love to do. They can occur to us in a meeting, while cleaning the dishes, on a walk, in the shower, during our commute, and even if we lie in bed unable to sleep. Our ideas may be, at various times, plentiful or sparse. They may be good or better. They may be bold or mundane.

The real  is not coming up with these ideas. It’s knowing what to do with them. How do we know which ones we will do? How to we finally get around to doing them? How do we not smother them with fear, uncertainty, or doubt? And how do we not get so overwhelmed by (and even go numb to) the number of ideas, the uncertainty of direction, and the lack of time to tackle all these ideas?

Here’s a way:

First, focus on your SweetSpot. Your SweetSpot guides you towards your best choices. The projects or adventures that now best match your SweetSpot will feel great to consider. Next, keep a running list of these good ideas. If you use the Effectiveness System, this list is your back burner list. The power of the back burner list is the sense of ease it leaves you. You know that your ideas are safely captured so you can happily work on other important things now and then work on your back burner items later (or never, should you choose).

Then, review both your SweetSpot and your back burner list weekly. By taking this time to do this refresh, you will be able to make strong choices about what you will move forward. Decide what you are committed to doing this week. Move any project (a.k.a outcome) you are not going to work on this week to your back burner list. And, if you will do even one small thing to advance a project that is now on your back burner list, move that project and that one small thing into your active task & projects lists.

Simple, ya?

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: faith goble via photopin cc