WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE?
DISCOVERING YOUR PASSIONS, STRENGTHS, AND VALUES
This is the stage where you start visualizing your new life, based on your passion, strengths, and values.
Perhaps you’re one of those few people in the world who are very aware of what your passions, strengths and values are and you’ve got an idea that combines all three of these.
Usually, these ideas come from you doing something that you care about, and discovering that there is a gap in the market for a new product or service that you’ve identified.
This video links up with the next one, and both can help you supercharge your thinking and your chances of success. The first relates to activating a big business multiplier – your passion! The second is a mechanism for gaining confidence in your own idea by taking the focus from inside of you to the world out there: what else has been done that’s close to your idea, and how does your idea differ from what’s gone before? Both of these are meant to help you gain confidence; hopefully enough confidence that you will be able to take the next step after that free from fear and paranoia.
Believe me when I say that these two steps, if executed correctly, will provide you with enough momentum to keep you going. It’s only by taking action that good things can happen to you.
Passion, Values, and Strengths
In my experience, it’s very important that you try and center your thinking on your passion, strengths and values. This will make it much easier for you to persevere when the going gets tough or when there’s a financial pinch and it all seems too hard.
Believe me, if it’s not something that you’re completely passionate about, you’ll be able to work through the steps of entrepreneurship for a few months, or perhaps a year or two, after which your interest levels, energy levels, and will to live will start flagging.
It’s simply impossible to keep working hard consistently if you are not following your dreams, playing to your strengths, and following your passion. It’s hard work taking a product or service to market and you need to be as interested as possible in what you are, in effect, committing your life to. This is the reason why I’ll be producing another product shortly about changing your life and getting rid of fear by learning to identify your weaknesses, strengths, passions, values, and personal development vision.
Let me say at the outset that when conceptualizing, it’s important that you follow your hunch – a gut feel is seldom wrong. As I said earlier: make big decisions with the heart and small decisions with the mind. There’s a whole new field called neurogastroenterology and what these guys have found is amazing: they’ve found neurons, basically brain cells, which line certain parts of the stomach and intestines.
And this is why it’s such a powerful thing – your gut feel. We tend to overthink and intellectualize things, but if your gut says that something is wrong then you’ve got to listen to it. It can really help you focus your thinking.
I’ve found that when I’ve started focusing on something, all sorts of new things are revealed to me as if a magic curtain has opened in the fabric of the universe. This is not, of course, what happens. What happens is that your mind becomes attuned to something new, and your subconscious starts picking up on all the signals that have been out there to date, but that you have not noticed before.
Some motivational speakers to this well: they ask participants in his seminars to focus on everything blue in the seminar room and to spot as many blue objects as possible. They allow them to do this for a minute or so, and then asks them: ‘How many red objects did you spot’? Because everyone was so focused on blue, they usually didn’t see many or any red objects. If they had been asked to look for red objects the, hey presto, there would have been many more red objects of which they would have become aware.
In much the same way, you will be blown away by what you can achieve when you focus on your passion, strengths, and values.
Let’s talk about passion first.
Coaching people to find their passions is one of the favourite things in the world for me.
One of my first clients was a young lawyer who had wanted to escape the world of law. She had tried several different aspects of law, from private practice through to in-house roles, but all of them had been less than satisfactory. A redundancy at the last place she had worked forced her to slow down and figure out her way forward. She asked the question that I get asked so often, especially by people with professional qualifications: ‘I want to follow my passion, but how do I know what it is? I can’t even remember what it is that excites me. How do I even know what my passion is? And how do I make a living following my passion?”
This is a very sad but true state of affairs for the majority of people who’ve gone to university or college to obtain a qualification in a ‘good’ field, hoping to snag that lucrative job at mega-corp and spend the rest of their years building mega-corp into giga-corp.
In his book, Talent is Never Enough, the bestselling author John C Maxwell, makes mention of a study conduct by Robert Kriegel and Louis Patler. They had interviewed over 1500 school children in their final year of school. Of these, 83% said that they were going to follow a career path with good career prospects so that they could make money to end up doing what they really wanted to do. The remaining 101 kids (17%), were the opposite: they were going to follow their passion no matter what, and worry about the money later. 20 years later when they follow up with these kids, the results were startling: of the 1500, 101 had become millionaires? How many of these were from Group A (the career kids) and how many do you think were from Group B (the kids who followed their passion). Well, 100 of the 101 were from Group B – they kids who followed their passion! Isn’t that insane? We get caught up in what’s called the pinstripe prison – go to college, earn a degree, and work for mega-corp. Well, this study proves that that just isn’t a recipe for making big bucks?
There is nothing wrong with that if you are following your passions in doing so. But most of the time, as evidenced by many of my own friends, they feel that there’s got to be more to life than this. New research shows that 98% of Americans are unhappy in their jobs! That’s ridiculous! It’s nothing more than just sitting in a cubicle to get the next paycheck, wasting your talents.
But it’s not easy figuring out what it is that you want to commit your life to. It’s a big decision and one that should not be taken lightly or hastily.
The answer is not always to go and do something radically different. Sometimes it is possible to change your job or direct its course in such a way that you do more of the stuff your passionate about and less of the stuff that kills you. If done in conjunction with your strengths and value, then this is explosive stuff. As mentioned earlier, modern society doesn’t reward all-rounders – rather, it rewards those people who perform freakishly well at one specific task. With 7 billion people on earth, you can be assured that there will be a client base waiting for your specific passion to be wrought into something that they want.
There’s a wonderful book by Barbara Sher called ‘I could do anything, if only I knew what it was’. It sets out the steps you can take to discover your passion and how you can apply it to your everyday life, and hopefully end up doing it for a living. The worst advice I ever got was to not enter a career in which you work on your passion. I simply cannot believe that I did that for so many years.
Having now undertaken a complete and radical change of career, I can see that my passion is in helping people help themselves. A counselor of sorts, but not of the psychological type. Rather, I help people reframe the paradigm they’re living in, set goals for the future, and work positively and optimistically towards achieving those goals.
A strength is something that is easy for you to do, that leaves you energized while you’re doing it, and has you wanting to do it again once you’re done. I do a lot of radio work and, even though I have frequently been complimented on my radio ‘personality’ (or whatever they call it), it simply kills me. I get home after a studio session and my mind is completely numb and I feel like sitting in the corner and rocking myself to sleep. That is not a strength. It’s something I’m good at, but I will never achieve much with it, seeing as I’m not working to a particular strength of mine.
Public speaking, on the other hand, leaves me excited, breathless, and really happy. And I wasn't to do it again as soon as I’ve finished doing it. I’ve found that it’s easier to find your strengths once you start accept your weaknesses. Being superman (like all men think they are), I had a very difficult time accepting that I wasn’t absolutely flawless in everything that I attempted.
But little did I realize that that attitude is what kept me from discovering what my true strengths were. Once you gladly accept your weaknesses, your strengths start making an appearance. A strength is also something that is much easier for you to do than for other people. It sounds logical, but we’ve all been brought up that we should avoid the path of least resistance. When it comes to morality, then that is good advice. When it comes to living a rich, fulfilling life, then it pays to follow what, for you at least, is the path of least resistance. Running is very difficult for me, but it’s very easy of Olympic athletes. They get rewarded for pursuing their passions and strengths, and so can you.
For too long I’ve tried to be the best all-rounder I can. I wanted to work on my weaknesses so that they could be as strong as my strengths. That, however, is a waste of time. Don’t get me wrong – it’s important to know what you weaknesses are, but to expend a lot of energy, money, or time in trying to get these close to your strengths is a huge waste and will leave you depleted and, well, mediocre. Don’t underestimate the power of working to your strengths – it is simply phenomenal.
You may be crazy about horses, excel at horse riding, and believe that you have a special gift for working with horses, even though you’re an accountant. There is no easy way to go from being an accountant to being an equine trainer/expert/show jumper. Let’s do a few exercises:
1. Picture the worst job in the world. Think of something that is so vile that you even struggle to comprehend why anyone would do it. What is it? For some people it is the thought of working in a mailroom, sorting mail. Others quite like the idea of sorting mail, and would hate the idea of having to stand up in a boardroom to defend their budget. My personal worst job would be a job in which I have to create and manipulate spreadsheets each day, while I have a micromanaging boss who checks my every move and gives me ridiculously tight deadlines. NOW, once you’ve picture your absolute worst job, think about which aspects of the job make it so bad for you, then find the OPPOSITE of those aspects. This is much easier than asking someone to figure out what their dream job is. Start with something you hate, pick it apart, and then find the opposite of those aspects. Working under close supervision is your nightmare? Then you most likely have more of an expansive way of thinking or doing and you don’t want to be micromanaged. You want to be your own boss perhaps? Working with spreadsheets, crunching numbers? Your strengths are most likely at the opposite end of the scale, in the creative or arts arena.
2. Picture your dream job. Let’s say you want to be a cowboy or cowgirl. Is there some way in which you can find underlying emotions associated with a dream job that you can perhaps use and apply in other areas of your life? Do you enjoy horses because you feel calm and don’t have to interact with people that much, while your current job perhaps stresses you out? Why does it stress you out? Which aspects of it can you change to be more in alignment with your strengths?
Follow these to show you what your strengths are. And the best advice possible is to speak to people who know you well and ask them. Simply ask them what they think your strengths are and you will be astounded about what you learn about yourself.
Your personal values are those guidelines that have been part of you since the day you were 4 or 5. Nearly 90% of a child’s personality is finished forming by the time they’re 5 years old, which means that there is very little that will change for you from that time forward without intense pressure or something major happening in your life which results in a big shift of how you perceive yourself or others.
What this means is that you will have a very unhappy, unfulfilled life if you do something or follow a business parth that is in misalignment with your inherent values.
In other words, trying to do something which you think is not right, or not part of who you are, will quickly result in burn-out, feelings of remorse, morbidity, and generally feeling as if you’re the papier-mache guy or girl with nothing inside.
I’ve heard it being described as “the man in the empty suit” and I can tell you that I did that for a long time in my professional career and it made me miserable. It took me a long time to figure out what aspects of my professional life I didn’t like and why, but it boiled down to me wanting to make a difference in the world that I live in, and being a small cog in a major piece of machinery just didn’t do it for me.
This is part of why I have come up with the Ultimate Business Multiplier and why I am promoting it so strongly – I truly feel that IP is of immense importance to businesses and individuals alike and I want to spread this message as widely and as deeply as possible.
This is not because I am self-important or have delusions of grandeur. Rather, I found it very, very unfulfilling to sit in an office everyday and write patent specifications and tell people one by one about the power of IP when they’ve arrived at my offices. I didn’t like the idea of billing people by the hour, as I have always pictured myself more as someone who valued knowledge highly and didn’t like selling it on an hourly basis – it cheapened it for me. Other people don’t have this problem and have no issue with selling their knowledge by the hour, but for me it clashed with my core values.
Do the following exercises:
Think back to a time when you were little (5 – 10 years old) where you were asked to compromise on something that you felt strongly about.What was it that you were being asked to compromise?How did you feel while you were taking that decision?How did you feel after you had given in and compromised your values?Most people find that this gives them a much better bearing or compass of what their true values are than when asking them to analyse it in a vacuum.
Make a list of people you admire.What were the values they pursued and why did this appeal to you?You most likely share values with these people and it could help you find out some of your hidden values.
What can you absolutely not see yourself doing on a day-to-day basis?What sort of job would drive you nuts?What sort of job would make you hum along?Why?What’s the difference between these two?That usually helps you find out what your own values are.
Now that you’ve done this exercise, write down a list of your key values and make sure you put them up in a place that you can easily see them. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to stay true to your values. Straying from them will lead to all sorts of issues with your mental and physical health and a lot of it cannot be undone easily. Don’t think that you can do something lucrative for a short while if it compromises your values, and then retire from it after you’ve made your money. You won’t get out untainted and it won’t have been worth it in the least.
I really hope that you follow these steps and write down a list of what your key skills, strengths and values are. When you combine that with your passion, then that’s a winning combination.
Now that we’ve had a look at passions, values, and strengths, it’s time to turn our focus to the outside world and see what’s already in existence, before we re-invent the wheel or step on someone else’s toes. In the next section, I’ll be showing you how to use other people’s IP to align your passions with gaps in the market that you may wish to exploit. Doing this without the benefit of IP searches is misguided and will land you in hot water or cost you lots of money. Don’t be concerned – it’s easier than you thought. We’re now moving to the guts of the Ultimate Business Multiplier where I’ll show you step by step how to protect your intellectual property.
KEY QUESTIONS & ACTIVITIES
Think back to a time when you were 6 or 7 years old. What did you enjoy doing? Why did you enjoy it?
Think back to when you were in high school.Which subjects did you enjoy, and why?What did you do outside of school that you were excited about?
Write down ONE key skill that you have – something that you do easily which most people struggle with.How did you feel when you thought about that skill?Is it something that you can do over and over again and not get tired of?Ask your family or friends to help you with this
What do people compliment you on?Is there something you do which people think is awesome?What can you do to focus more on this skill?Ask your family or friends to help you with this.
Being realistic about your weaknesses is a key part of becoming more aware of what your strengths are. Name three things which you think you are really bad at.Read them out loud to yourself, and accept them.Now: did they provide you with an inkling of what your strengths might be?If so, write down what you think those strengths are.
What do you dream of doing?What is the one thing you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail?What is the one thing you would still want to do if you had all the money in the world.Be honest with yourself – it can be something extremely trivial, but be VERY specific about it.
What would be your absolute worst job?Remember, this differs from person to person.Picture it vividly and write down every aspect of the job that would bother you (micromanaging boss breathing down your neck; loads of spreadsheets; public speaking; etc.)
Now – look for the polar opposite of each of the things you have written down above.This might point you in the direction of a job or business you might love.
Look at everything you have written down above.Is there any way in which you can develop these skills more in your current job?If so, write down three things you can do to ensure that you develop these skills at work.
If you feel that there is absolutely no way you can develop these skills in your current job, what would your dream job be?
If there is one thing you can do NOW to develop your skills and strengths, what would it be?
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