What you do best vs what makes you different

A lot of traditional marketing advice advises us to ask ourselves:

“What makes me different?”
“What makes me special?”

Trying to find what makes you special or different could be the very thing stalling your business. It might sound odd to say but chances are you are NOT special or different from those around you. Especially in today’s crowded marketplace where there can be hundreds or even thousands of people who ‘do what you do’.

When we focus on what makes us different we are automatically measuring ourselves against everyone around us.

We spend our time trying to be unique and to try and find ways to position ourselves as ‘better’ than everyone else. This can put us in an exhausting cycle of comparison and judgment (and we are usually judging ourselves the most harshly when we compare ourselves to others!)

What if instead, we focus on what we do BEST?

What if we really own that and show up in the power of “here’s what I do best” and simply own it?

Yes, there are others out there who do what you do AND folks are attracted to confidence. To ownership. To you showing up and saying “I’m damn good at this and can help you.”

Plus it makes things SOOOO much simpler. It stops the cycle of looking at everyone else around us all the time and puts the power back in our own hands. All I need to do is show up and do what I do best, and tell others about it.

I’m damn good at strategy – at helping people look at where they are, see what is working, what is not working, where they want to go next and how to get there in a way that is 100% aligned with who they are. I’m also damn good at making it super simple (as one client said, cutting through the chaos to find a straight path to profit.)

There are loads of other folks out there who are great at strategy as well. And that is awesome because the world needs us all.

I’ve recently updated my offerings to include some pretty cool new ways to work together – including my Strategic Growth Intensive and Your Backpocket CEO. Click here to take a peek if you are interested in potentially working together.

When boredom shows up in your business…

Boredom is simply a sign that it’s time to explore what is next for you.

I used to think that there was a magical place in my business journey where I would “get there” and be eternally content. And once I arrived there everything would be smooth sailing from then on out.

In my 24 (!) years of being in business I’ve come to realize “there” doesn’t exist.

Because we are meant to continually grow and expand. To learn more. To try new things. I’ve landed “there” many times and every single time boredom would creep up. Even if I tried to stop it!

“Come on Tina, can’t you just be content with this?”

I’ve tried to ignore it and just keep on keeping on but ended up feeling like a slowly deflating balloon.

Part of the journey has been giving myself permission to recognize that I’m bored and that it’s totally OK to make changes!

This doesn’t have to mean throwing our business out the door. Even simple changes can free us up to explore more exciting things.

  • Hire someone to take over a key role in the business that you’ve been hanging onto.
  • Bring out a new offer for the folks you are working with already.
  • Start talking about things that you don’t normally talk about with your audience.

One of the best things that ever happened to my business was when I got bored of teaching my Certified OBM training.

First of all it was hard to admit that I was bored – because I loved my students and being a part of their journey! And admitting I was bored felt like I would be letting folks down. But when I was honest with myself I had done the training so many times that it wasn’t challenging anymore.

This led to building a team of licensed Certified OBM Trainers in 2018 who became the lead trainers and took over all the things I was tired of doing. This model has worked beautifully in that it freed me up for other things while also providing my training partners the opportunity to do what they love and build a thriving business around it. (Shout out to my training partners Keldie Jamieson, Shar and Wade Langin & Amanda Hyde-Pierce).

Bored business owners are some of my favorite folks to work with as we get to really dig in and look for ways to spice things up!

I’m curious – what aspects of your business are you bored with right now?

Business advice that just doesn’t work for me (no matter how hard I try!)

“If you want to be successful you have to focus on offering just one thing”

I can’t do just one thing. I’m simply not wired that way.

I’ve tried… oh how I’ve tried to do just one thing! But every time I try to put myself in a box – to find my “one thing” and focus on just that – I stall. I lose steam. I feel trapped.

Then I start the cycle all over again. “Maybe this thing over here is my one thing!” I focus on that for a while and then the same thing happens again. I stall. I lose steam. I feel trapped.

It hit me recently – what if the “one thing” model just isn’t for me?

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the one thing model. There is a tonne of value in focusing on just one thing. And I do think it’s important in the early stages of business to do just this.

But I’ve been in business now for over 20 years. I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve got loads of experience. And the truth is I like – and am really good at – a number of things!

  • I’m amazing at helping business owners refine their offers to focus on their genius, make more money and attract new opportunities that are 100% aligned to who they are. (I did a refinement session on Monday with a client and she signed up a client the next day with her new offer! Hot damn, how cool is that?)
  • I’m amazing at helping CEOs develop their leadership, hire the right people and empower their team to run the business without them.
  • I’m amazing at helping leaders who have created a body of work turn that into a certification or licensing program that leaves a legacy and creates passive income.

I do all of these things already. I am working with clients in all of these areas at the moment. And I’m going to continue to do so.

No more trying to put myself in a box. I can offer all of these things and still be a successful business owner. I daresay it’s a lot more fun this way too!

I’m curious – do you consider yourself more of a “one thing” kind of business owner? Or a “many things” owner like me?

If you struggle with asking for help, you are going to struggle with your team.

Believe me I get it – I’m the queen of self sufficiency. Of thinking that I ‘should’ be able to take care of everything on my own.

When folks ask me how they can help my default response is almost always a variation of: “I’m good. Everything is fine. I’m OK. I’ve got it. No worries.”

These things run deep for some of us – we are ingrained to feel like we have to take care of almost everything. It’s something I’ve had to learn how to overcome in my business, and it’s still something that I struggle with from time to time.
But if we can’t ask for – and receive! – help, we are setting ourselves up for a slew of stress and problems with our team.
We may struggle to see what to even ask for help with because we are so habituated to doing it all ourselves. (I don’t even know what someone can do for me?)
When we do know that we want help with something, we aren’t sure how to ask in an effective and clear way (A common scenario I see is that we think we asked for help with something but in reality, our team member wasn’t clear on what we asked for or thought we were just talking about stuff and didn’t realize you were asking for something at all.)
We hold back on asking for help with certain things because we think they won’t want to do it or we don’t want to bug them (I can’t tell you how many clients have said to me “Well I don’t like doing this thing so I can’t ask them to do it for me”…. yes, you can. that’s what they are there for. 😉
And the biggest ‘ooof’ of all is when we have folks on our team who are asking to take things off our plate “I can help you with this. How about I take a look at that for you? Are you sure you still want to be the one doing this?” But we say no because deep down inside we feel like we have to be the one doing everything.
I can tell you, from the other side of the coin, that this is highly frustrating for the people you hire. They really want to help but they either a) aren’t clear on what you want help with or b) feel like they have tried to help out in various ways but that you aren’t ready to let go. And they end up feeling like they aren’t being helpful at all.
Asking for help from your team is a learned skill (I teach my clients the 4 A’s of asking) And receiving that help is an equally important skill to learn as well!

If you are feeling like there is a disconnect between you and your team when it comes to asking for support, my Empowered Team Session could be right up your alley (and yes, we can shift this in just one session together.)

An unexpected identity crisis

2010 was the year that I hired my first OBM Tiffany.

I had VA support already for a few years at that point, but this was my first time hiring management-level support.

Now Tiffany jumped right into the role with both feet and rocked it. She took over managing the team, all the projects and generally making sure everything was running smoothly in the business.

Awesome right? This is exactly what I was looking for (and as a side note – this is exactly what we teach our Certified OBMs to do).

So I was REALLY surprised a few months into our working relationship to find myself questioning whether or not we should continue to work together.

Say what Tina? Why the heck would you want to stop working with someone who was doing an amazing job?

I remember waking up one morning in a bit of a panic. I was feeling useless in my own business.

The team was no longer coming to me with questions and for guidance – they went to Tiffany instead.

I no longer had to check in on projects and make sure stuff was getting done – Tiffany was on top of it.

I wasn’t the one who had my finger on the pulse of every little thing going on anymore – you guessed it, Tiffany was taking care of it.

And I didn’t know what to do with myself.

The question that kept running through my mind was
“If I’m no longer needed for these things in my business – then what value am I bringing to the table? What is my role here?” Cue the identity crisis.

Thankfully I was working with a coach at the time and I reached out to him with that exact question.

He reminded me that my role was no longer about managing the business. “You are at the stage now Tina where your business needs you to lead – not to manage. Every level of success requires you to let go of something and you are at the point where it’s time to let go of managing. It’s time to be the CEO.”

We worked together to define what my role as CEO was. To identify all the things that I no longer had to take care of, and the things that I was now freed up to spend more time on (which for me was writing, teaching and coaching alongside the higher level leadership activities that my business needed from me.)

I remember so clearly being at a crossroads that day and seeing two paths laid out in front of me.

One direction was the old, worn path that I was used to. The path of being involved in every little nitty gritty detail of my business. Where I was the hub of everything going on with the team and projects. This was what I was used to doing (habit!) and it was something that I knew how to do well. I felt needed. I felt important. And even though it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing anymore, it was comfortable and the temptation to go down that path again was strong!

The other direction was about stepping into my leadership and becoming the CEO I knew I was meant to be. To let go of what I no longer needed to be doing and step into the (sometimes scary) things that my business was calling me to.

Thankfully I chose the second path – and although it’s been bumpy at times it truly has made all the difference in the world. If I had chosen the first path I know I would have sabotaged my working relationship with Tiffany. I would have stuck my nose back into things I didn’t need to be involved in. And we probably wouldn’t have worked together for very long after that as I would have gotten in the way. We ended up working together for 8 years before she left to start her agency. 🙂

It’s funny how sometimes we KNOW we need to make changes in what we are doing. We may even WANT to make those changes and bring more people onto the team to help.

But when we make those changes we find ourselves in uncharted territory. We may not know what to do with ourselves. If we are uncertain about what our new role is, then it’s really easy to slide back into our old one.

This is why the very first thing I do with every leadership client I work with is helping them redefine their CEO role – to create a new identity. To look at what they do best, what they want to do and what their business needs from them and to turn that into an inspiring and exciting role. Only then can we take a deeper look at their team and leadership, knowing that they won’t slide back into the ‘old habits’ of what their role used to be.

Some of my clients don’t like hearing this (at first)

I do a lot of work with CEOs around their teams.

They come to me when they’ve tried hiring multiple times and can’t seem to find the right person.

When the people on their team keep ‘bugging’ them (asking questions, waiting to be told what to do next)

When folks keep making mistakes that they have to turn around and fix.

As a default, it’s easy to think it’s about the person they’ve hired.

“Try as I might Tina, I just can’t seem to find good people. Where are all the good people?”

My response is the part they sometimes don’t like to hear.

“Let’s take a look at your leadership first.”

In my experience, when someone is struggling with the same problems in their team over and over again there is something missing in their leadership.

  • It might be something in the hiring process that leads to making a poor hire.
  • It might be the way they are delegating and setting expectations.
  • It might be a gap in communication and how the team is being managed day to day.
  • It might be how they are handling mistakes when they happen.

This can be a hard pill to swallow because it means admitting that we don’t know how to lead very well (yet.)

But the good news is this – when the problem is in our leadership, WE have the power to fix it!

One of my favorite leadership principles is this:

A leader looks in the mirror first – at their leadership – before blaming the person they’ve hired.

But it’s not always clear where the gap in our leadership is, and this is exactly why I’ve created a new assessment to help folks struggling with their teams. They feel like they are constantly caught up in team issues and unsure how to fix it. Your assessment includes a 90-minute diagnostic session with me to identify where the problems are and lay out 2 or 3 ACTIONABLE steps for you to take with your team and in your leadership.

If this is of interest to you click here for more information.