A friend is working on a new business idea and it is brilliant. The enthusiasm in her voice and manner when we discuss this topic is amazing. With her talent and track record of success, as a friend I might caution her from jumping too soon. She might undermine her other established, profitable business. It is just the opposite. I keep asking when she is going to start it.
A new business is nothing to be entered into lightly. Risks need to be evaluated, processes thought through and a business plan developed. This is where the trouble begins. My friend knows her Top 5 talents per the Clifton Strengths® Assessment. The challenge is she doesn’t know any more than the descriptive words. She has not done the work necessary to know how these very talents are holding her back.
It sounds counter-intuitive for a talent to be a limiting factor. Yet they often are when we are not aware of their existence or have just passing knowledge of what they are. My friend is gifted in Strategic Thinking themes, those talents that let her absorb information, consider the options and make decisions. Only the decisions don’t get acted on. They keep getting “re-decided” or re-worked and her ability to continue absorbing, even seeking out information, means there is a never-ending stream of options to consider.
Without a full understanding of her talents, my friend doesn’t recognize she is in a comfort zone of thinking, thinking, thinking. What she is doing feels right to her because of the comfort and the fact that she is so darn good at it. When we talk about putting her plans into action, her voice diminishes, she becomes hesitant and the conversation soon changes.
With a clear understanding of her talents, my friend would see how they helped make her first business a success. She could probably identify a few key decisions that were instrumental, and likely a few partners that helped along the way. She would recognize she is now stuck in a thinking pattern and needs something or someone to help her act. By taking action, she would get feedback (that she craves) to make the next best decision, and the next best decision and so on.
So as a friend you are thinking that I should tell her these things. I have and I will continue to encourage her. Yet I know she would have the courage to act, that she would believe in her ability to grow this business as she did the current one if she discovered these things within herself. Telling only goes so far. It is far more powerful when we discover these things in ourselves.
Discovery may take outside input. The Clifton Strengths Assessment is a great place to start. But don’t stop there! Invest in understanding and using your strengths, so you aren’t stopped by the very talents that could help you succeed!