Life and Death

A common strength running through all the SoulSalt employees is that of “relator”.

None of us exhibit this strength in quite the same manner. For example, Shannon is known for her uncanny ability to ignite conversation and good will almost immediately.

Such was the case recently when we left a voice message to purchase old barn wood for our office wall.

When the return call came in Shannon took it and started to explore our options with the owner of the barn wood. About three minutes into the call she excused herself and moved her conversation into an adjacent room away from our work area so we would not be disturbed.

Thirty minutes later Shannon returned to her desk with a huge smile and that delightful glow she emits when she’s made a new friend.

We still didn’t have any information on our ability to purchase the wood. However, Shannon had a few rich stories about the city of Herriman and an overview of this other woman’s family history there.

I thought nothing of the situation. This is business as usual for Shannon. She is fully trusted to take the time and energy she deems necessary to talk with our contacts: even those who will never book a coaching appointment.

I’m proud of Shannon for how she represents us and how she treats the people in our lives. I hope she is equally satisfied in how she conducts herself. And sometimes, in fact eventually when a person lives in alignment with their own code of conduct like Shannon does, that strand of “what’s right about us” gets mirrored back.

A few days had passed since this call and Shannon learned that the woman she’d spoken to had passed away.

The first insight Shannon shared was how glad she was that she had taken time to hear the family history.

Jessica and I agree with her insight. And I would add that Shannon’s example has reminded me to slow down a bit and take time to connect better with my heart and head to the people I come in contact with. I hope that my last conversation with those I love will be one of connection, peace and goodness.

Thanks Shannon.

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Economic Engine

It’s time to show yourself the Hedgehog money! Look at the convergence of your strengths and your passion.  Now, the one remaining leavening factor…we must learn where you can make money with what you have.

Take the steps needed to formulate your success:

Step 1: Invest time (I suggest about a week) observing where money is flowing. Take note of where people are spending money and where other people are making money. These observations will open you up to “seeing” what is out there already in terms of financial exchange.

Step 2: Notice where you make money easily now. Ask yourself, “Where are people willing to hand over cash for what I can/do offer?”

Step 3: Pull out a spreadsheet and a calculator and go to work comparing the costs and projected profits from each of the ideas.

Step 4: Be ready with all the information you’ve gathered in Part 3, Discovering Your Deep Passion and Part 4, Economic Engine, so we can put it all together in the next installation of this series.

Coming Next: Part 5 Putting It Together
Return To The Previous Post: Discovering Your Deep Passion

Finding Your Best in the World

The hedgehog concept is the ONE thing that can make the difference between loving what you do while making money, and all of the alternatives.  Not that those alternatives are necessarily horrible.  It’s just all ‘round better to be at the core of your hedgehog.

This is the second of a five-part series on the Entrepreneur’s Hedgehog–how can you, as an entrepreneur, discover what you can be the best in the world at?  For an initial understanding of the Hedgehog concept, we wholeheartedly recommend that you read Chapter Five of Good to Great, by Jim Collins.  For audio learners, Jim Collins provides several videos and audios on his website.  While we rely on Jim Collins for the initial idea, we have extended his concept to small business owners over a number of years.  The hedgehog is the intersection of three aspects of your life:

  • What you can be the best in the world at;
  • What you are deeply passionate about; and
  • What drives your economic engine.

You would think that you would know what you can be “best in the world” at, don’t you?  That is seldom the case without some work.  Imagine trying to look at the back of your neck.  Even if you can get it centered in a mirror, it’s backwards!  Additionally, your “best” may seem so natural to you that you don’t even recognize it as a strength.  Do you have one of those “walking encyclopedia” friends who shrugs his shoulders when you ask him how he always knows the direction for “North?”  Maybe you know one of those people who can add four digit numbers in their head or who always knows the “right” question to continue a conversation.  Those are people with a genetically-coded ability and they often don’t realize that others don’t have it.

As I’ve worked with clients to discover their “can be best” strengths, we’ve often used a combination of three approaches.  When the three all point towards the same strengths, you know you’ve got it right.

First, conduct a brief survey.  I’ve worked with several clients to contact friends, mentors, business associates, and customers as part of their discovery process.  I ask them to pick ten people who will be honest and answer three questions:

  1. What do you see are some of my greatest strengths? Can you relate a specific example?
  2. What is the greatest contribution I have made to you personally? Again, can you relate a specific example?
  3. What is, in your opinion, my single, most greatest strength if you had to narrow it down to one? Can you give an example that would illustrate your point?

The results from the survey can fill pages, so I’ve worked with some clients on a way to squeeze out the data.  They go to http://www.wordle.net/ and create a word cloud.  The results are often visually clear.  This is a word cloud generated for LynChristian.com

Second, look inside yourself.  Start by thinking about what you do naturally that others admire.  You are probably on the right track.  If you want an outside stimulus for this phase, you can turn to almost everything that Marcus Buckingham and the Gallup Management team has produced that contains the Strength Finder instrument in it.  The most recent publication is Strength Finder 2.0.  Are you a lifelong learner?  Maximizer?  Strategist? WOO?  Read the book, take the survey, and add the answers to what you find out from others.

Third, ask your customers.  The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit, Chapter 4, has a section on getting customer feedback as part of your marketing.  It works for this as well.  Often I will send a simple request at the end of a coaching contract that asks my client to “spend a few minutes thinking about the value our coaching brought to you.  I am asking you because I believe that you will be candid and objective.”  Your customers will tell you what you bring to the table, and that gets added to your other answers about what you can be best in the world at.

You can take the results from these three approaches and triangulate the results.  You will find what you can be the best in the world at.

Next: Part 3 Discovering Your Deep Passion
Return to the Previous Post: The Entrepreneurs Hedgehog 

 

You Have Hedgehogs

When I use the term “hedgehog”, I am referring to something beyond the frumpy little pin-cushion like critter.  I’m talking about each person’s latent working identities.  I’m talking about those places where your passion, your strength, your ideas meet in powerful synergy with a market need or a market want.

 Years ago I wrote several blog spots with a coaching colleague on this topic. Over the next few weeks we’ll be reposting the articles which outline the process I generally use when supporting a reinvention client.  I hope they are useful for those of you who are switching out the way you work and the way you live.

Please let me know if you have further questions on the process or the programs we currently run on the topic at SoulSalt Inc.

Coming Next:  Part 1 Entrepreneurs Hedgehog