In Focus, Leaders

“Hide not your talents.  They for use were made.  What’s a sundial in the shade?” – Benjamin Franklin

Last week in this space the topic was value, and how as leaders our goal needs to be to provide as much value as possible to as many people as we can.  The conversation was about focusing on that value and not worrying so much about whether the people you’re providing value to are providing great value (for example, $$) in return on every single occasion.

Based on the feedback we got, that idea resonated with some people who were anxious to go out and provide that value.  Then there were some people who couldn’t figure out why you’d ever do anything in business (or life) for any reason other than money.

One reader asked a question that was a little bit different.  Providing all that value is great, she said, but what value can I personally provide to my business and to those who are part of it?  What specifically can I do that others will find really valuable?

That question could be answered a lot of different ways, but the way the struck me first has to do with passion.  One of the things that’s generally true in life is that it can be hard to provide the value someone needs in a situation where you’re incompetent.

For example, if you’re having electrical problems in your house, and it needs to be rewired, I really can’t help you.  I don’t know anything about electricity, and if I tried to help, somebody would probably get hurt.  The only real value I could bring is to order some pizza to be delivered so we can take a break for lunch.

If you really want to bring huge value, you have to be super competent in an area where people have a need.  And I don’t know anybody who’s super competent in anything that they aren’t passionate about.  I don’t think it’s possible to be world class, to put in the time and energy and effort, to gain the knowledge and experience you need to be great, if you’re not excited about what you’re doing.  It doesn’t matter if you’re providing value as a teacher or a hot dog vendor or a CEO.  You’re only going to be truly great if you’re passionate.

Find that thing that gives you energy.  What is it you’re doing on days that fly by?  When you’re excited to come to work because of what you get to do that day, what exactly is on your schedule?  Find that, and you’ve found your path to being as valuable as you were meant to be.

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