The most important thing you need to know to sustain individual success according to Marcus Buckingham is to filter all possibilities in order to zero in on those that will allow you to be your best. Sustained success is making the greatest possible impact over the longest period of time.
You must cut out of your working life those activities, or people, that pull you off your strengths’ path. Your manager can draft you on to the team and cast you into the right role on the team, however, it will always be your responsibility to make the small but significant course corrections that allow you to sustain your highest and best contributions to this team and to the better future it is charged with creating. If you are a solo-entrepreneur, you have a double job; drafting and course-correcting.
Only 20% of people feel like they are in a role where they get to do what they do best every day; 80% feel their strengths are not being utilized. It may be interesting to know this statistic, but what do we do with it? How does one sustain passion even when life is imperfect?
One of the things Buckingham suggests is that we discover what we don’t like doing and stop doing it. This is something I’ve been ‘preaching’ for years now. Do what you love and what you do best, and hire (beg or delegate) someone to do the rest.
Second, take your natural talent and enthusiasm and target your learning toward those areas where you possess some kind of comparative advantage over somebody else. Then stay good or get better. The more of a commodity you are, the less successful you will be. As Peter Drucker once said, “Something special must leave the room when you leave the room.” Natural talent can be described as those recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied. Talent describes potential, not performance.
No matter what your talent or intelligence, success results only when you employ the right tactics.We talk a lot about balance in life and work, but the real key is to be fully engaged and then know when to disengage. Ideally we want to disengage for a few minutes every 90 minutes or so.There is no way to eliminate stress unless we move to the top of an isolated mountain, and I’ve thought about it. The key is to have a disciplined process of stress and recovery. Stress is not the enemy; uninterrupted stress is the enemy. If we could only treat life as a series of sprints rather than a marathon!
Here are some other tips from Buckingham’s The Only Thing You Need to Know:
- Proactively manage your boss by providing him with 3 things: loyalty, good advice and a subordinate who will never make herself look good at his expense.
- Remember: It’s Always Showtime! The little things and interactions you have on a daily basis DO matter.
- Make your individually the focus (your particular mastery)
- Fix your flaws. First the ones that stop you from performing and second, the ones that stop you from advancing. This will challenge you and if you focus on your flaws/failures will weaken you. So look at them, take care of them and move on; don’t linger with them…..keep the focus on: Cultivating your strengths!
One good question to ask yourself is what portion of my day is spent working on things I really love? The answer should be 70-95% in order to sustain success. If less than 70%, identify and eradicate the things that are getting in the way. Assess where and how you spend you time, it’s critical to your success.
You’ll need to remember, eradicating your dislikes is not high on anyone’s agenda. Most companies are set up to deliver to the customer. Employee success and fulfillment is important only as it relates to and adds to customer delivery. Even identifying your own dislikes and their causes may not seem a priority and yet the better you do this, the easier they will be to eradicate.. Remember if you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it.
A dislike is caused most often by one of four distinct emotions:
- You’re bored (may be okay with the activities, but not the content)
- Unfulfilled (your values are not engaged)
- Frustrated (your strengths are not in use)
- Drained (do it, delegate it, dump it, take on a partner, disengage)
Bottom line: The longer you put up with aspects of your work you don’t like, the less successful you will be.