“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
What’s the #1 reason people don’t start a business that matters to them?
- No time
- No ideas
- Too many ideas
- Afraid to fail
While all of these things factor in at some level, the #1 answer, based on my clients feedback is…
If you don’t know what you’ll do, no amount of coaching/marketing/inspiration will help. And it is frustrating for people when it seems like everyone else is out there creating blogs, starting businesses, launching products, etc. And it’s especially frustrating when you hear that someone is leaving their corporate job to pursue their passion full time making money doing what they love.
Are we happy for these people that have found their way? Absolutely! But, there’s often a part of us that wonders if we’ll ever find our way and be able to do work that matters.
So let’s talk about not having any ideas. What does this really mean? For most, it simply means that they haven’t spent time evaluating what they’re naturally good at. This might seem rather basic, but our hectic lives leave us with so little time to consider what we might be really good at.
Remembering your brilliance
It’s easy to forget who we are – our natural gifts, our effect on people, our accomplishments, and even our desires. Want to remember what you are brilliant at? Take a few minutes and answer these questions:
- What could I find myself talking to someone about for hours with no sign of tiring?
- What am I freakishly good at?
- What do I want to be known for?
- What am I bored of?
- What are three things I’m most proud of – but would never put on my official resume?
- What’s something that people instinctively ask me for help with?
- What can I undeniably promise to everyone I work with?
- What is something that I secretly wonder about everyone I meet?
- If my parents/spouse/kids/God or whoever holds my sense of personal propriety in check was GONE (poof!) and there was no one left to offend, upset, or disappoint…who would I become?
Now, based on your answers, can you see any patterns beginning to emerge?
These patterns are a glimpse into the things that you are made to do. I call these the non-negotiable part of you, the things that you simply can’t not do. These could be teaching (on any subject), painting, cooking, traveling, woodworking, yoga, promoting, creating, or any unique combination of these things.
The point is, we are all unique and we all have ideas residing just below the surface that are dying to be expressed. Remembering these ideas is all part of the process for starting a business that matters.
See, the pains of starting a business are REAL, even though nobody wants to talk about them. It’s more fun to talk about the latest sexy social-media tactic instead of how to find a profitable idea that someone will pay you for.
Discovering your brilliance and turning it into a profitable business can change everything. It can mean the difference between creating extra income doing what you love vs spending the next 30 years in that corporate job that sucks the life out of you.
Nothing gets me more excited than helping people find that one thing that they love so much that they would do it for free – and then help them test it and get paid for it.
Life is precious and I believe that we owe it to ourselves (and the world) to stop wasting time and energy on the mundane and invest a little time discovering our brilliance.
Come back again next week and we’ll dive a little deeper into this subject.
P.S. What are you brilliant at? Tell me one thing that you know you were made to do? No self-judgement allowed! 🙂
Going below the surface is key, not only to starting a business that matters but living a life that matters. Looking within to see your brilliance is simple but not easy and not instantaneous. That in itself is a process. To answer your question: I’m creative, artistic and enthusiastic!
I love the questions that you listed to be answered! So insightful and helpful. 😀 Thank you for being here to help me look a little bit deeper and figure out my true purpose.
To answer your Q: I think I am brilliant at writing – it is something that comes naturally to me. When I feel an emotion, I like to express it in a poem. It is effortless. In school I always liked my classes better if I had to write a paper. I have even had professors (one who was a published author) comment on my writing and I read a paper that I wrote at a symposium. I don’t like editing my poems either really. To me it is hard to go back and edit when I am no longer writing in the same emotion that I originally felt. Even though I feel like writing isn’t hard for me, I am always a little shy to share my work.
Khrystle recently posted…Budget
I absolutely love your 9 questions. I have done similar exercises in the past but these nine just seem so fun, especially the last one! For me, I know I was made to travel and meet people. I am a people-person, and I love listening to their stories. I think I am a good listener, and I can make people feel heard, make them feel special… and I can help people gain confidence… I hope that I can tie this skill into my current businesses! I love how you said these are the non-negotiable. A non-negotiable for me is always travel!
Jesicka Labud recently posted…When You Feel Like Giving Up Most: Please Don’t.
I can only agree, the question technique is fantastic, and your questions rock. As for my personal brilliance: explaining things to other people, breaking problems down so they understand it 🙂
Jo recently posted…How to overcome fear of failure and follow your dreams: 5 simple methods that helped us to become appreneurs, and a bonus tip for badasses
Thank you for the article, Michael. Those are great questions to think about and try to answer. One thing that I am absolutely brilliant at is learning and trying new things. And I was made to do ministry of one kind or another. Pastoring a church is my true love in life, but I haven’t been able to do it because of my narcolepsy. So I’m trying new things and writing instead of preaching, and learning about new tools for spiritual growth, and finding ways to minister to others who live with chronic illness, and exploring new technology for bringing people together. I’m a good listener, never judgmental, and an excellent advocate for people.
Susan recently posted…If I Couldn’t Laugh…
Love the questions, Michael!
#4, What am I bored of, is an interesting one. What would I do with the answer to that one? Does it mean it’s something I want to change in the world? Or something that I shouldn’t spend my time doing?
One thing I’m brilliant at is showing people that it is possible to do what they dream of doing, and helping them find ways to get out there and do it!
Amy Scott recently posted…Inside Nomadtopia: Why I Do What I Do
I love this! At the basis of everything, I think it is important to become fully self-aware. Knowing yourself inside and out allows you to discover your strengths and weaknesses. Thanks for sharing those questions, and I’ll use these during my weekly reflection!
Hmmm…. I struggle most with #9! Because of circumstances in my past, I am so conflicted about not offending anyone and trying to please everyone, that depending on the answer I could get from #9, it could change my answers to all of the others!
Lots of thinking to do… but I guess the good thing is that I am at least aware of this in myself, and that is the first step. Now to get through it….
Wendy recently posted…Are habits controlling your life?
I love your questions to find your brilliance! I think taking some time to really consider those can bring up some great ideas. I think my brilliance lies in creating things from scratch and working on big long term projects I can really put my heart into. This is what lights me up and gets me excited 🙂
Michaela Cristallo recently posted…Creators at Work: Stuart Russell
Michael, one thing I am really proud of (and never considered putting on my resume) is cycling and cameras. (Photography) I could also talk about both of these topics forever… but they never proved useful for my traditional 3D Animation and Design resume. Now, I feel like I might even blog about them. Those are definitely not negotiable for me. I got some ideas recently to make ebooks about these topics and I got so excited personally never been so excited about writing a book before. There’s something special there.
Martin Labud recently posted…When You Feel Like Giving Up Most: Please Don’t.
Hey Michael, this is superb just what i need to hear right now. Been struggling for a few days but your’e post has just lifted me back up again on why I am doing what I am doing. Thank you
Paula recently posted…Just say something?