How to be Chosen

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Sales and Influence, Sweetspot
Reading time: 1

We sometimes get trapped thinking that in order to be the one chosen (for the job or by the client), we need to be seen as being smart, hip, credentialed, correct, professional, hungry, not too cheap, sophisticated, anointed, rich, decorated, not too expensive, on trend, published, number one, the hottest new thing, well established, the known brand, experienced, fresh, and first.

Whoa, we better get busy on all that, ya?


To be the ones who get chosen, we are the ones who engage their passions, bring their talents, play for win-win, and hear what those who would choose us really need. We are the ones who are confident that we can help and who deliver.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

The Grass May Seem Greener

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

When you are considering a change in your career, you face the “grass is always greener” problem.

You can leave for something that may be better than what you have now. And if you do, you might find that it is great or that it is not really all that different. Or you can stay and work to improve what you have now. And if you do, you may find new levels of challenge, meaning, success, and satisfaction. Or you may not.

How can you decide which one to do?

Here’s how. Notice how we have framed the question. “Should I stay or should I go?” is an A-B question. That is, you are comparing one with the other and hoping to pick the best. You may end up with what is the better of two choices and it still may not be ideal.

Instead find a standard to measure both options against then choose the one the best matches the standard. I suggest you build your standard with your answers to these four questions:

  1. What are my talents?
  2. What do I care about?
  3. What do I need, want, and desire?
  4. What are the needs, wants, and desires of others (individuals and organizations) that I find compelling to help with?

Answer these questions and you will have your SweetSpot. Compare your options against (and think up some others with) this standard and you will not have to worry about greener grass.


In your corner,


Your First Step

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, What=Compelling Focus
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You can build a strategy–for yourself or your organization–out of fear. You can apply your intelligence, talent, and strength to defend against obvious or unspoken threats. If you find yourself (and your colleagues) struggling with questions of “How?” “When?” and “Who?” you are likely building a fear-based strategy.

The alternative is to build a strategy from who you are.  When you (and your colleagues) are considering questions like, “What is true now?” “What do we want to be true in the future?” and “Why?” you are creating from a deep well of energy, insights, and resources. Answering the “How?” “When?” and “Who?” questions then becomes easier.

Your first step is to choose which approach you will take. Either way will work. The fear-based approach will make (and lose) billions or trillions this year. The alternative method will, too. The one method costs dearly in personal and organizational energy. The other method is sustainable.

Your choice. Really.


In your corner,


PS: One good representation of who you (or your organization) are is your SweetSpot: where your talents and strengths, your passions and values, your needs-wants-desires, and the types of problems you like to solve all meet.

Leadership Teams that Work

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Success, Sweetspot, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

Show me an organization that is suffering and I’ll show you an organization with a broken leadership team. Show me an organization that consistently thrives and we both will see a leadership team whose members

  1. have a high degree of respect and trust for each other,
  2. come to productive consensus (i.e. “I may not agree this is the best idea; I do understand it and will support it”),
  3. maintain a strong sense of personal accountability,
  4. call each other on lapses in commitments,
  5. steward the organization’s SweetSpot, and
  6. show the rest of the people in the organization how what they do contributes.

Leadership teams have huge impacts on the organization. This is not limited to the executive team; it applies to leadership teams at all levels.

The good news is that fixing leadership teams is simple. You start with a commitment to succeed.


In your corner,


Busyness and Angst: a Cure

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

Essayist and cartoonist Tim Kreider wrote the following in his New York Times opinion piece called the The ‘Busy’ Trap.

“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day…I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”

Whoa. Tim, that’s quite a downer. And I agree. Busyness can be a decoy that keeps us from even asking, “Am I happy? What is true? What is important? Does my work fulfill me? What is most compelling and meaningful to me?”

Luckily there is a cure for both the angst and busyness. Here it is:

  • Find your SweetSpot. Take the time to explore and acknowledge what is most important to you. Discover or recover your sense of purpose, belonging, meaning, and success.
  • Live it. Your SweetSpot is a set of criteria for meaning and success in your career and life. From it you can find or create one or more projects, roles, businesses, or jobs that will let you bring your SweetSpot to life.
  • Help others to do the same. This is probably an optional step. There is a need out there for it. And it’s something that will feel pretty great to do.
  • Act naturally. Use the Effectiveness System to get to a state of confidence in both the things you do and the things you choose to not do.

I think you will do very well to subscribe to the idea that life–including work–is meant to be joyful, fun, free, and meaningful. (Even if you think life is none of this, tell yourself a different lie.) And there is no real need to cloud things up with existential angst or busyness.


In your corner,


Leading Without All The Effort

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Success, Sweetspot, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

Last night, my wife hosted a small meeting at our house. The group was gathered to plan an important, impactful event. My role was logistics: help with refreshments, get the kids to bed, etc.

At the end of the evening, the group’s leader thanked me. In fact, I should have thanked him. I got to be part of something exciting where talented and passionate people were working in their SweetSpots. I wanted to help.

The usual ways of getting people to do stuff are full of struggle. The incentives, cajoling, pleas, threats, and politics feel crappy to others and exhaust you. Lose-lose.

When you operate from your SweetSpot, everyone knows it. And the people who matter most to you will want to participate–at least in part–because it feels good. You will be drawing them into their own SweetSpots. And it will feel almost effortless to you. Win-win.

Yeah, I like the second option better, too.


In your corner,


PS: By the way, we are not talking about charisma. A charismatic leader can be in her SweetSpot…or can be trying to cajole, plea, motivate with excitement. You can feel the difference.

Meaningful Work and Money

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Good: Your Good Work, Strategy, Sweetspot, What=Compelling Focus, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

Meaningful work and money are not mutually exclusive. Not by a long shot.

Having all the money you want is part of the definition of meaningful work for you and/or your organization. It’s called the SweetSpot™.

We just have to work on your likely “yeah, but…” here: “Yeah, but, it’s hard or impossible to find that ideal role, market, career, or strategy that has both money and meaning.” That’s so not true.


To your continued success,


Meaningful, Fulfilling Work

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Career, Good: Your Good Work, Sweetspot, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 1

What does it take to have meaningful, fulfilling work?

Many experts say you must know and follow your passion. Yes. Passion is important. But, as you probably suspect, it is not enough.

Here’s what you really need. Your ideal work must

  • Use your Talents What are you really good at?
  • Engage your Passions What drives, motivates, or excites you?
  • Meet your needs, wants, and desires. What do you need in order to feel good, whole?
  • Contribute to satisfying other people’s needs, wants, and desires that you find interesting.

The intersection of these four areas is called your SweetSpot™. When you work in your SweetSpot, you have the meaning, clarity, and impact you want. When you are outside your SweetSpot, you struggle more.

How close are you to your SweetSpot? How close do you want to be?


To your continued success,


P.S. Organizations have SweetSpots, too.  How close is your organization to its SweetSpot?

Why selecting a niche is so dang hard and what you really need to do

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Career, Success, Sweetspot, What=Compelling Focus, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.
A friend recently asked, “When you were starting did you have any difficulty pinpointing your niche?” Here’s how I answered:

Selecting a niche is difficult.

Yes, I’ve had difficulty pinpointing my niche. And I’ve been through many niches: I thought I wanted my niche to be leaders in IT (because of my background), small business (because I thought I didn’t have the experience/cred to coach in large businesses), teams (because I liked and still like coaching teams), mid-career professionals looking to change careers, sales and marketing VPs, …
I stumbled by staying too broad and feared narrowing my focus. If I narrow my niche, aren’t I cutting off potential clients and limiting my income?
I’ve also worried that selecting one niche would set me up for disappointment. What if I chose the wrong niche, dedicated a bunch of time and energy to it then discovered that there’s a better niche out there for me? Or what if I found something that I really like but couldn’t do or failed at? That would be crushing.

What you really need to do

Of course, I mentor/coach/teach others that
  • selecting a niche lets you go deep and, paradoxically, increases your marketplace because more people are attracted to your understanding of them and the depth of your offer.
  • you need not pick one niche for now and evermore. In fact, there’s no way of knowing that what you choose now is what you’ll stick with.
  • you can pick something now, start working it, learn along the way (which I have done), and adjust your focus/niche later based on what you know then that you can’t know now.
  • your best guide is your feelings, not your intellect. Though your intellect helps tremendously, going with what feels good is always best. The SweetSpot process I described to you is a way to get to those feelings and use your intellect for all its worth, too.
  • others will respond very well to you when you really feel plugged into your SweetSpot/niche.
When I applied this teaching to myself, I saw that my niche is helping others (individuals and organizations) find then succeed in their niche. Odd, huh?