Bestselling author, business consultant, and former senior researcher at the Gallup Organization, Marcus Buckingham, talks about making the most of your talents and how to use them to contribute to others. Life, he says, is not about fixing our flaws but being deliberate about how we make use of our gifts and talents. Listen in for some inspiring tips, and learn how to lean in to those activities that drive you.
We are all unique. How we use that uniqueness to drive our passions and achievements is called Unique Ability®. Are you interested in finding out how you can use your own unique set of skills and passions to maximize your potential and results? Tune in to hear what Julia has to say about discovering and acknowledging your Unique Ability and using it to your best possible advantage!
One of the most enriching and eye-opening experiences is setting out on the journey of self-discovery. Listen in as coach Julia Waller walks entrepreneur, Jessica Rhodes, through the Unique Ability® Discovery Process. Hear Jessica’s thoughts and insights as she analyzes her day-to-day from the perspective of Unique Ability.
We all did stuff as kids that we look back on now, and laugh or reminisce about — but what if there’s more to it? Dan Sullivan looks back on the things he did when he was younger and how they created the foundation for The Strategic Coach® Program and his work with successful entrepreneurs. Read more to understand how Dan’s insight could turn your passion into your life’s work, so you’ll never work another day in your life!
Using Unique Ability for good instead of evil
Unique Ability is a powerful force. What is Unique Ability exactly? It’s a superior ability you have that other people notice and really count on you for. You’re passionate about doing it. In fact, you can’t not do it. It energizes you and everyone around you, and it also feels like there are limitless possibilities for growth if you just keep doing it. In essence, it’s talent plus passion, and, like rock and roll, it’s a combination not to be messed with. When you’re in your “Unique Ability Zone,” you are unstoppable: exponential results, shiny new opportunities, loads of fun, great teamwork, rainbows and unicorns, right?
Well, hang on a sec. Have you ever gotten into trouble for doing what you love? Maybe you’re the idea person, brimming with the latest and greatest new ideas, but you’ve got no filter—so much so that your team doesn’t know where to go next, and they waste endless hours starting new projects that never see the light of day. Or maybe you’re the responsible team member who takes psychological and emotional ownership over every single thing you do. Great—you’re productive! But you walk around with such a grumpy, tense look on your face that nobody in the office wants to come near you.
That’s right, folks, as one of our clients said, “Every strength has a dark side, so you need to operate with a Jedi mindset.”
Consider it one of your primary jobs in life to manage your Unique Ability. Part of this management is finding out how and why you get into trouble. If you’re not sure, just ask your spouse, team members, or trusted clients. They’ll tell you the truth if you’re willing to listen! Strategizing these trouble spots and getting support from those around you will result in an even more powerful Unique Ability; a lot less pain, frustration, and wasted energy for all; and even greater results, satisfaction, and joy. And maybe even the occasional unicorn.
I’m passionate about clarity—almost annoyingly so if you ask those around me! I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one, right?
We want clarity for ourselves, which means we need it from others. For me, I want it from my teammates as well as from Dan Sullivan and Babs Smith, the entrepreneurs who have a big, exciting entrepreneurial vision and lead our company. I want it from my husband, family members, neighbors, and friends. In turn, I do my absolute best to provide it to others at every junction.
What exactly does clarity mean?
Since Unique Ability is my main gig, let’s look at Unique Ability clarity for starters. When asked, “What’s your Unique Ability?” most people stutter and stumble, look at you wide-eyed, and say something like, “I’m in sales,” or, “I’m in real estate.” While those might be industries they work in or activities they do that use their Unique Ability, they don’t describe the talents that make them unique in the world combined with the passion that drives them.
Unique Ability clarity gives you a framework for every decision you make in life, from what activities to do (or not do), what audiences you can best create value for, what kind of team you need around you, what environment best suits you, and what relationships will mesh with your way of doing things. It puts boundaries around your “playground” where you’ll create the most value while having the most fun. It keeps the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.
Why is it such a good idea to be 100% clear on your Unique Ability?
At the core, it all goes back to autonomy—being in charge of your own life. Dan Sullivan has always said, “If you don’t take charge of your future, others will.” As a successful entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team member, you’re a smart, talented, and incredibly useful person. People want to use you, in a good way. Your Unique Ability is your greatest source of energy, passion, value creation, and satisfaction. The clearer you are, the better the chance of your being used by the “right” people, doing the “right” activities, for the reasons that really jazz you. Presto, life is better, just like that. The more you figure that out, the better it continues to get.
What happens when you’re not clear?
When you’re fuzzy about your Unique Ability, it’s frighteningly easily to be pulled in a million directions. You go down one road, get frustrated, get pulled down another and make a mess, do things out of obligation, and feel trapped. You can probably even feel the energy being sapped from your body as you read this. If it goes on too long, you wonder what’s wrong with you, and you may even start to lose interest in your business or job because you can’t even remember what you loved about it in the first place.
Are you motivated to get clear?
Take a small step. Do your Kolbe A profile and learn more about your natural striving instincts. Do your StrengthsFinder profile (StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath) and learn your Top 5 Strengths. Send out a letter to ten people in your life asking them what they count on you for—your unique talents and skills. Read our book, Unique Ability®: Creating The Life You Want and follow our process. It takes some thinking and digging, but it really is possible to sum up your Unique Ability in one sentence.
Hopefully, the next time you’re asked if you’re clear on your Unique Ability, you’ll pull a Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men and smugly reply, “Crystal.”
At the heart of who you are lies the secret to your greatest success, best quality of life, and biggest contribution to the world. This is your Unique Ability — a special talent that always has these four qualities:
Superior skill. You produce outstanding results with this talent. It’s so natural to you, you can’t help but do this extraordinarily well. Others notice this skill, rely on it, and really value it.
Passion. You love to do this, and probably did it in some form long before you got paid for it. (In fact, many people continue to give their Unique Ability away for free because they don’t appreciate how special and valuable it is.)
Energy. Using your Unique Ability gives you a boost of energy. The people around you get energy from you, too, because it’s fun and exciting to be around someone who’s both passionate about and talented at what they’re doing. Likewise, when you surround yourself with other Unique Abilities, your days are filled with positivity, dynamism, and creativity.
Never-ending improvement. You’re already exceptional at this, yet you could do it for the rest of your life and always find new ways to do it better and better.
Discover this special part of yourself and bring it to the fore, and you get the chance to be celebrated and rewarded in life for doing what comes most naturally to you. It’s the truest freedom possible!