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Business Coaching Secret # 2—Don’t Try to Improve

Human beings are the only animals on the planet who try to do what they are not naturally designed to do.  

You are not Tom Brady. Brady is a proven super star.  Early on he set his mind  to be a top quarterback. He created a plan to attain his goal through a rigorous physical and mental training regimen. When given an opportunity to play he performed brilliantly and has never looked back. He was prepared and ready. The rest as they say is history.

In fact history is rife with stories about these kinds of special people. But they are special, that’s why they make history. How many of us have that kind of discipline and the willingness to sacrifice to go through the pain of making ourselves better than our god-given talents would seem to warrant?  

Do not try to improve. Yes, that’s what I said. Don’t improve on what you’re not good at. Instead, focus on the qualities and talents that you already have shown and demonstrated to be your strengths. Simply said, your strength is your strength. There is a reason you are good at certain things and not so good at others. Your job is to be as good as possible at what you are already good at.  

Most of us do not accept the fact that we have unique talents and skills.

We are wise and knowledgeable in our own way. But we don’t know what to do with all this ability. Here is what to do.  Concentrate on what you are good at. You can’t be good at everything. Make that OK.  Discover your strengths, acknowledge the truth of it, and go with what you are good at.

How do you go about discovering your strength? I ask clients a series of questions designed to get them in touch with what lights them up.  Often they have lost fire and desire in their life. Work is often drudgery. If you do something in life that does not seem like work then you can say “I never have to work.”   

Ask yourself: what is it that seems effortless and natural to you?  Most likely you are taking your own strength for granted because it is part of your natural make-up. When we can do something really well we assume it’s no big deal.  But it is. It’s your big deal. When you find yourself doing something that you enjoy, ask yourself why. You have to actually interrupt the normal everyday flow to notice something about yourself. Ask your family and friends what you are good at or when you seem to really be on fire.  They can often give you a more objective view than you have of yourself. What does it mean to you when you are good at something?  Why do you enjoy it? What is it about you that occurs to you that that endeavor is fun? Why is it important to you? Keep asking yourself questions.   

Coaching Tip

Be curious about yourself. Curiosity is the first rule of coaching and  is one of the most powerful services a coach does for his clients. I don’t assume I know anything about a client.  There is always something to discover if you stay curious.  Once you lose curiosity, you lose your ability to learn and grow? Treat yourself like a fascinating stranger you just met. Now it’s time to stop and ask. What do I enjoy? What do I yearn to do?  What is it about doing (Fill in the blank) that I love so much? Discover your strength now.

Do what you love. You have all heard this before, but it bears repeating. A related but essential part of using your natural strength is to focus on what you truly love to do.  

The question is: what do you love and are you willing to risk the chances that you might, or might not, make it? Now I can hear someone out there saying something like…”but I can’t make a living doing the thing I love. How can I make money sailing or carving wood objects?” You won’t know unless you try. The universe has a strange and wonderful way of providing for you if you are willing to step up. But you are the one that has to make the first move. One of my favorite quotes is from the German philosopher Johann von Goethe:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

In other words, you make the first move and then things line up. They are unexpected, unpredictable, surprising, powerful things that could never have occurred if you hadn’t opened the door to them happening.

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