“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.
I can remember how frustrating it was for me to be stuck in my corporate job with no idea what to do. I knew that I wanted to do something besides my life-sucking job but I didn’t know what it was or even where to start.
And then to add insult to injury, I would end up reading all of these blog posts where it seemed like everyone else was out there creating glorious things, starting meaningful businesses, and following their dreams.
While this gave me a small glimmer of hope that maybe someday I could do it to, it mostly made me want to vomit.
Sure – I was happy for all these 20 and 30-somethings that had figured out a way to simplify their lives and find success but deep down I wondered how in the hell I could possibly pull something like this off.
My first step to creative entrepreneurship was to answer some really important questions.
And not just any questions. Questions that really made me dig deep and think about what I loved, what I was naturally good at, and what I couldn’t live without.
It probably sounds crazy that I had never really taken the time to get clear about what I might want to do with my life, but my hectic schedule left me with so little time or energy to consider what else might be an option for me. I was always rushing to catch a flight or catch a meeting or just catch up with my wife for dinner.
I finally hired a coach to help me get pointed in the right direction and one of the first questions she asked me was: what are you brilliant at?
I didn’t have an answer!
I had spent the last several years providing all kinds of answers to my corporate clients but I couldn’t answer this one simple question about my own life.
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? Find a quiet place and take a few minutes to 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 parts 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, business building, 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 your brilliance is the most important part of the process for starting a business that matters.
See, the struggles of starting a business are very 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 validate 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 just a little time remembering our brilliance.
P.S. What are you brilliant at? Tell me one thing that you know you were made to do? No self-judgement allowed! 🙂