Do You Know Where To Draw “The Line” In Your Business?

Shannon Waller
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Imagine your business as a big space in front of you. Now, through that space, I’m drawing a line right down the middle. On one side of that line is your Unique Ability—all the things you’re great at, love to do, and that give you lots of energy. On the other side of the line is everybody else’s area of expertise.

The challenge for entrepreneurs is that because we’re the ones in charge of everything, we think we also need to be in control of it all, so we drift over into that other area. But that doesn’t work because as soon as you cross that line, you’re into activities that drain your energy and are difficult for you.

Things creep in as your business grows—team issues, financial issues, admin work, dealing with clients who were fabulous when you started but aren’t going where you want to. We’ve got a term for all these creeping, energy-stealing details, and forgive me if I get too technical here: We call them “stuff.”

So on one side of the line is Unique Ability, and on the other side is “stuff.”

Of course, you can try to tackle issues on the “stuff” side of the line using brute force, but the long, hard hours you spend over there never quite pay off like they should, considering the cost.

Your side of the line is where your very best opportunities lie—the activities you’re passionate about, that give you energy, that make you a hero to the audience you care about, and that have a multiplier impact.

So how do you give yourself the confidence to stay on your side of the line and trust that the other side is taking care of itself? The solution comes in three parts:

  1. Get really clear about your Unique Ability. In my podcast “Know Thyself,” I gave you the tools and profiles we recommend for thinking about and articulating what you do best. Once you get into that zone, be aware of how your energy drains when you step outside of it, and use that awareness as a warning light to keep you on your side of the line. When you fully appreciate your own Unique Ability, you’ll have the right perspective to recognize, appreciate, and maximize other people’s too.
  2. Remember that your team isn’t clairvoyant. Create communication systems that let others understand your expectations. Describe the end result of the project: What does it look like when it’s done and done well? Really spell it out; tell the story. What’s the best that could happen? The worst? Make sure you’re really sold on the idea before you pitch it to your team.
  3. Embrace teamwork and partnership. Once you’re skilled at these two things, and using the same tools and awareness, you’re equipped to create your Unique Ability Team, whether they’re full-time or part-time, in your building or across the planet. It’s the partnership and teamwork with other people’s Unique Ability that frees you up to focus on your own. Even if you have a team right now, unless you’ve had the Unique Ability perspective, your team members aren’t as maximized, fulfilled, or contributing as much as they could be.

There are Unique Abilities distributed all over the globe, and you can work with any of them—without ever having to travel across “the line.”

For more inspiration and tools for tapping into the world of exponential teamwork through crowdsourcing, read Peter Diamandis and Steve Kotler’s Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think and Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World.