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Why Focusing On Your Unique Ability Is Crucial For Business Success


Barnaby Lashbrooke

Founder and CEO of Time etc, author of The Hard Work Myth

10 minute read

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Have you ever had that feeling like you're just spinning your wheels in your business? Like you're working harder and harder but not getting the results you want? It's a frustrating place to be, but there may be a simple solution—leveraging your unique ability.

Wondering how one thing can make that big of a difference? Trust me; it can. Identifying and focusing on what you do best doesn't just cause your productivity to skyrocket, but your happiness, too.

Keep reading to learn more about unique ability, how to identify it, and why it should be your priority as a business owner.

What is unique ability?

Unique ability is a concept created by Dan Sullivan, one of the world's most influential entrepreneurship coaches and co-founder of Strategic Coach. According to him, your unique ability is simply a combination of what you love to do (passion) and what you do best (talent).

Your unique ability is directly connected to your entrepreneurial success. When you identify what you love and do best, it’s easy to focus on strengthening it to achieve extraordinary results. Since you’re following a life path that satisfies you most, you won’t waste your time and energy on activities that don't push you further.


Finding your own unique ability

From Dan Sullivan's perspective, most people are unaware that they have a unique ability. It might be tough to appreciate the things that come naturally to you because you think everyone else can do what you do.

However, if you want to make every second you spend in your business count, you should identify your unique ability.

But where do you start?

Here are some tips to help you find and leverage your unique ability.

Determine what you love doing everywhere, even outside of business

As we mentioned earlier, your unique ability is a combination of what you’re really passionate about and are naturally good at. It's something you're constantly drawn to, and you'd do it even if you weren’t paid. But you don't have to restrict your search to just a business context.

Look at what you love to do in different areas of your life, including your personal life. You might be surprised how your hobby, interest, or skill can create value in your business.

It's been with you since childhood

For many of us, our unique ability emerged in our early school days and still persists to this day.

You can ask the people who were present in your childhood, such as teachers, parents, and siblings. If there's something that stood out about you when you were younger, this could be your unique ability.

It comes out naturally in different situations

Your unique ability could be found in skills or talents that shine effortlessly in different situations. This will be mostly unique to you.

And since these habits are so natural, you might not even recognize them. But chances are, others will be able to spot it. Take note of what they say when they acknowledge your strengths.

Others count on you for it

Have you noticed that people count on you for something specialized or specific? Something they consistently run to you for? It could be your ability to solve a problem, create systems and processes, or manage people.

That thing that makes you the go-to person could well be your unique ability.

It energizes others when you do it

When you use your unique ability to do something, those around you draw some energy from you. Why?

Because they feel excited to be around someone who is talented and passionate about their work. So, if you notice that the people around you become energized when you do something, that could be a sign of your unique ability.

Why 'high passion, high talent' takes you further

The 'high passion, high talent' tasks revolve around your unique ability. They're something you love, something you have superior skills at, and something that people usually tell you that you’re really good at.

Focusing on these tasks is an essential step towards a more successful and fulfilled life as a business owner. There's something about building on what you love. You achieve extraordinary results faster without feeling like you're forcing yourself.

Steve Jobs knew it and once said, "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."

Here are some more reasons why focusing on your unique ability is crucial as an entrepreneur.

Increased productivity

Lack of motivation is one of the most common creativity killers in business. We've all been there—feeling uninspired when stuck doing something we don't actually enjoy. It's hard to summon the creative energy needed to tackle a project with excitement when it just doesn't spark joy. And before you know it, hours have dragged on with hardly anything to show for it.

But when you prioritize your unique abilities, you'd be surprised at how much more you can get done each day. It lets you tap into a special reserve of focus and inspiration, making it easier to stay motivated, keep on track, and produce outstanding results.

Better results

When you work on tasks related to your strengths and abilities, magic happens! Achieving extraordinary results becomes a breeze because you're equipped with the best tools for the job.

Never-ending improvement and innovation

When you're truly passionate about something, you're driven by a natural curiosity that pushes you to keep learning more and expand your abilities further. You find yourself itching to take on new challenges or find your mind wandering to different ideas and approaches.

And of course, this doesn't just benefit you, but your business, too.

When you're constantly stuck working on 'low passion, low talent' tasks, it's easy to settle for 'good enough', 'that'll do', or 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. But this can create a cycle of complacency and mediocrity that can be tough to break out of.

Working within your unique abilities, however, you'll find it easier to spot areas that are actually 'broken' or could be taken to the next level. Not only that, but you also have the passion and the motivation that powers you to take action and do what's necessary to make those changes possible.

Better decision-making

Focusing on your natural talents helps prevents decision fatigue. Fewer tasks on your to-do list mean fewer drains on your mental energy, which entrepreneurs need in strong supply in order to effectively assess all options and make informed decisions about their companies that will have the best possible outcomes.

And if things don't quite go according to plan, you're bound to find a better solution than someone who doesn't possess your superior skill.

See: How To Make Better Decisions As An Entrepreneur

Less stress

Being an entrepreneur comes with its fair share of stress, with one report showing that 63% of business owners experience burnout. Could this be because most of our time and energy are being consumed by tasks we don't enjoy and that don't take us closer to success?

The World Health Organization defines burnout as a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job
  • reduced professional efficacy.

And according to experts, two of the most common causes of entrepreneurial stress are a concern for quality—striving to maintain high standards in your business's products or services, and role overload—when the demands of your role exceed your time, energy, and capabilities to meet them.

Focusing on tasks revolving around your unique ability helps you to mitigate the issues that build stress and lead to burnout. Role overload is significantly reduced when you're not having to race to complete a mountain of low-passion, low-talent tasks each day. And as we've established, you can be confident about the quality of your work when working within your unique abilities. According to Dan Sullivan, "It’s so natural to you, you can’t help but do this extraordinarily well." Not only that, but it's unlikely you'll ever feel disengaged or negative toward your work when it’s something you're passionate about.

What to do with 'low passion, low talent' tasks

At the opposite end of the spectrum from your unique ability, low-passion and low-talent tasks are those you don't enjoy doing and aren't good at. These kinds of tasks sap your time and prevent you from getting to work on things you love and are truly great at. So with that being said, these tasks shouldn't be anywhere close to your to-do list if you want your business to succeed.

But that doesn't mean you should neglect these tasks completely. They are still important to your business and contribute to its growth. For example, not being passionate about or talented in social media and content marketing doesn't mean you should miss out on the critical benefits they offer.

The solution is to outsource these tasks to a virtual assistant. These remote professionals are talented and passionate about the things you're bad at and hate, so you're likely to see better results in their hands than if you handled them yourself.

And the best part is that you can find a virtual assistant for almost every task imaginable, including the following:

Offloading low-passion, low-talent tasks comes with various benefits that help grow your small business. The key benefits include:

  • More time to focus on tasks that will take your business further
  • A healthier work-life balance because you're not burying yourself in never-ending mundane tasks
  • Avoiding the costs associated with hiring a full-time in-house employee
  • An opportunity to cover all bases since you can have experts in their respective tasks working for your business
  • The flexibility to scale up or down depending on your needs.

What's the bottom line?

Putting your unique ability to good use is the best way to ensure future success and sustainable growth in your small business. It creates win-win situations that put you on the most satisfying path toward achieving your goals. You're unstoppable because you have the perfect combination of passion and talent.

But don't forget to find someone to take on the 'low passion, low talent' tasks that are taking up your time and preventing you from getting to your best work. We're talking about virtual assistants with the expertise and experience to do what makes you want to pull your hair out.

If you're ready to start growing your business by focusing on your unique ability, Time etc is here to help. We will connect you with outstanding virtual assistants who'll take care of the energy-zapping tasks you don't enjoy doing or are not good at.

Speak to our specialist team to get started, or try a skilled virtual assistant for free today!

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About the author

Barnaby Lashbrooke is the founder and CEO of Virtual Assistant service Time etc as well as the author of The Hard Work Myth, recently recommended by Sir Richard Branson. Barnaby is a Forbes Columnist on productivity and is also an accomplished entrepreneur, selling more than $35 million worth of services.

Psssst...want a free copy of my book The Hard Work Myth?

Share this article now for your instant download:

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