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Articles filed in: Success

On Strengths

If a friend or colleague asked you to list their strengths, I’m guessing you’d have no trouble coming up several of their attributes.

But if they asked you to share a list of your strengths you’d likely hesitate.

Why is that?

We don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on our skills and talents, because we’ve been conditioned to be humble.

We largely focus on our ‘areas for improvement—the things we lack confidence and competence in, to the detriment of our gifts and our genius.

Of course, we can improve our weakness. But we can also amplify our strengths.

What do you already bring to the world and how can you do more of that?

Image by Annie Spratt

Opportunity Knocks


There was a talent show on television when I was a child called, Opportunity Knocks. It wasn’t unlike some of the reality talent shows broadcast on TV today. It was lower budget and had a lot less glitz and glamour.

Prospective contestants wrote to the show’s producers via snail mail pitching to audition. I doubt anybody knew the criteria for being picked to appear on the show. I know I didn’t have a clue how to improve my chances when I sent off a letter to the address that flashed across the screen at the end of the show. Luckily my pitch wasn’t successful because I was equally clueless about what my winning act would be if I were chosen.

Opportunity is defined as—a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.

It’s believed to be that fortuitous moment when the stars align. Conventional wisdom reminds us that the chance of success occurs when opportunity knocks. This implies that opportunity is a happening that’s out of our control.

The truth is we don’t simply wait for opportunity to arrive at our door, we invite it in. We start walking down the road to greet it, one foot in front of the other.

Image by Kelan Chad

On Tipping Points


Life, as the well-worn adage, written on many a motivational fridge magnet, reminds us, is a journey, not a destination.

We know this. Yet we strive for our tipping point—that moment when the series of small steps we’ve taken towards our goal will be significant enough to cause the big breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

The truth is, there is no singular tipping point that makes us immeasurably better than we were the day before. Everything we do is work in progress, and we’ll encounter multiple tipping points by taking the next best step we can on our journey.

Image by Curtis MacNewton

Why This? Why You? Why Now?


Why This? Why You? Why Now?

Three simple questions we are often reluctant to answer.

When you sit with the discomfort of reflecting on them before you embark on a project, you’ll be clearer about what the world needs from you and why. You’ll also have the beginnings of the story your audience wants to hear.

Why do the people you want to serve need your product or service?

Why are you the person or the company to bring this project to life for this audience?

Why is now the ideal time to begin?

And the bonus question.

What’s the story only you can tell the people you want to matter to?

Image by Lilibeth Bustos Linares

The Metrics Of Belonging


The things we measure most are the most tangible—sales, clicks, votes, bums on seats. They can be seen and touched, counted and compared.

The metrics of belonging are felt and harder to quantify. But it is those intangibles—often only evidenced or experienced over time, that are the backbone of strong relationships, communities and brands.

We have become impatient to see results now. We don’t have time to cultivate belonging.

So, we’re left to question. If it can’t be seen, touched or measured, did it matter? And if the answer is ‘yes’, how do we account for it?

That’s a question every one of us must answer.

Image by Garry Knight

Valuing Your Expertise And Effort


My dad had many manual jobs during his working life, but the one he loved most was being a painter and decorator. It was the only job he did, where he could stand back and find joy in his creative output at the end of the day. Painting was something he could say he was good at. His reputation preceded him.

His customers loved the end result—the pristine room, a freshly glossed front door. What they didn’t always see was the process that made the finished product great—the hours of preparing, sanding and undercoating the wood. The final coat was only as good as the effort that went into the layers of paint beneath it.

And so it goes for us and our work too.

Your clients aren’t just buying the result—they are investing in the value of your expertise and effort. You must remember to tell that story.

*Do you need help to reflect on the next right step for building your business or career? Then our group mentorship experience at the Right Company might be for you. We’re accepting applications for a handful of new members this week.

Image by Fernando Butcher

The Power Of Reflective Practice


My mother can practically bake a killer apple tart in her sleep. It’s a skill she’s learned over decades of trial and error. We hone any skill by doing. We get better by practising and observing, then reflecting and iterating.

The doctor perfects her bedside manner by reflecting on how a consultation went.

The salesperson gets better at closing deals by assessing what did or didn’t work on his last sales call.

The speaker improves by noticing how the audience reacts and thinking about how she could get more engagement during her next talk.

Practice alone won’t make us perfect. Progress happens when we make time for thinking as well as doing.

Image by Jessica Fiess Hill

In Praise Of Incrementalism

One of my favourite TV programs, when I was young, was Columbo—which followed the sometimes scruffy, seemingly absentminded, always polite, homicide detective, who solved murder cases in Los Angeles.

What struck me about Columbo was the stepwise way he made progress towards solving the case. He wasn’t necessarily looking for the big breakthrough, he was searching for the next smallest clue that would lead him to his goal.

It’s easy to seduced by the illusion of the big breakthrough. But what we see in all walks of life, not just in detective stories, is that it’s the commitment to patient, gradual progress that gets us to where we want to go.

Incrementalism is underrated.

*Do you need help to make stepwise progress in your business or career? Then our group mentorship experience at the Right Company might be for you. We’re accepting applications for a handful of new members this week.

Image by Volodymyr Hryshchenko

Giving Attention Vs. Getting Attention


The more people have to attend to, the harder it is to get their attention.
Attention is a precious resource. And as with any resource, scarcity creates value.
Our culture has taught us that those who can capture the most attention win—never more so than in the digital age. So, we devote a considerable amount of time and effort working out how to mine other people’s attention—often adding to the noise.

What if instead of showing up to get attention, we showed up to give it, without expectation? Imagine the resources we could build if we spent the majority of our time attending to how we could help instead of trying to be seen.

Image by Daniel Funes Fuentes

Empathy Creates Value

A restaurant host has one job to do—meet and greet diners and show them to their table.

It sounds easy enough, but the difference between a good host and a great host is underrated because where people are seated directly impacts their experience. Seating arrangements can influence how long diners spend at a venue, how much they spend, and whether they come back.

One Saturday, at a cafe near where I live, a woman arrives alone with a Moleskine notebook under her arm. She wants coffee and a small table in a quiet corner.

The young couple with two small children need a spot where they can spread out and relax over pancakes without feeling like they’re disturbing other diners.

Even though the cafe is empty, the host seats both parties at the same big communal table in the middle of the dining room. They smile politely and look disappointed, but don’t ask to be moved. Sadly neither group gets the experience they want that day. The young parents snap at their kids in an attempt to keep them quiet. The woman with the notebook puts it away within minutes, finishes her coffee and leaves.

In his quest for efficiency, the host forgot that the purpose of the cafe isn’t just to serve food and drinks—it’s also to have the empathy to discern how to treat different customers differently.

We create value and deliver joy when we make the people we serve feel like they matter. What better goal can we have for the work we have the privilege to do?

Image by Petr Sevcovic