What if the service that I offer (and want to move away from) is actually my strength, and it’s also the commodity that allows me to work 80% of the time IN that strength?
I was hit by this question after my keynote “We Should All Be Millionaires” this past weekend at Craft+Commerce, ConvertKit’s yearly conference. She was leaning against the windows in the back of my standing-room-only breakout workshop as she explained that the majority of her revenue comes from creating websites and brands for her many clients. This branding and web design service is what she’s determined the people want from her. This commodity.
If I work 80% in my strengths, then that means I’m constantly designing websites, and there’s a limit to how many websites I can design. How can I scale when I don’t necessarily WANT to be designing websites anymore—and there’s also the fact that there’s only so much time in the day? I don’t understand how I can both work 80% of the time in my strengths AND scale my business.
Listen up, because I’m only going to repeat this multiple times—because it’s THAT important: your skills are not synonymous with your strengths.
She has mistaken her skill of design as her strength. Essentially, she’s monetized her skill as a designer. After digging in deeper with her, she discovered her strengths are actually much more aligned with winning others over, relationship building, and connection, which sets her up nicely to take all these years of practicing her design skills and translate them into leadership.
Your skills aren’t your strengths, and focusing too much on skills that are no longer serving you is keeping you from growing.
Now, you may be thinking, “Can’t everyone learn skills and improve their strengths?” Yes and also no. But mostly no. And if you’ve been hanging around me long enough you know: if it isn’t a straight up YES, it’s a no.
It takes a tremendous amount of effort to do something well if you aren’t naturally suited for it. Both the results of your effort and the satisfaction you get from doing the work will suffer if that effort doesn’t align with your natural talents, gifts, and abilities.
If you commit to working in your natural strengths every day, you are six times as likely to be engaged in your work. This means higher productivity (8% more, statistically speaking), higher level of joy (15% less likely to quit), and, more than likely, as a result: higher revenue. (source: Gallup)
Your strengths are born out of your natural talents, and they serve you better long term than industry specific skills and knowledge. Because talents are typically innate and long-lasting, it’s not likely that your strengths will change significantly over your lifetime.
Don’t get me wrong, your skills are great, sis. You’ve worked hard, and you know things.
However, knowing your natural strengths and doing the work to grow them is essential. Shedding the skills that don’t serve you anymore is essential, too.
Can you imagine if I was still out here trying to do trademarks for all of my Million Dollar Badass clients?
Letting go on my trademark expertise in favor of honing my skills and strengths as an influencer and strategic thinker helped me scale my business because—guess what? I’m terrible at executing, and being a trademark attorney requires a hefty amount of executing. Not only that but I thrive in front of groups, naturally engaging and inspiring—a strength that I rarely got to flex sitting at a desk filing after actions.
However, that trademark experience did allow me to naturally transition into business coaching, armed with expertise about creating a killer brand and a specialty in unpacking intellectual property with my clients. Letting go of the actual skill of trademarking and being a lawyer allowed me to grow beyond the limitations of that skill set.
When we focus too much on our skills (which often take the form of letters behind our names or certificates that make us feel legit), we completely miss the larger opportunity afforded to us by our strengths.
That woman I met at my workshop who’d painted herself into a design and website building corner left the workshop with her sights set on working 80% in her strengths—as the Creative Director and CEO of a design agency.
What skills are you leaning heavily on that you can release in favor of growing and working in your strengths 80% of the time? This is what you need to do in order to grow your revenue and scale your business.