Today I am going to talk about the clash between pushing boundaries and sticking to your strengths, in particular, this was a major issue that I had recently in LA, and I would love to hear your feedback.
First, let’s start with a quick overview of these two business staples:
Pushing Boundaries = going the extra mile, forcing yourself to go one step further than you are comfortable with, doing things that are not within your comfort zone etc.
Sticking to your Strengths = focusing your energy and time on the areas that you are best at.
Ok, so here is my issue/problem, myself and Barry Dunlop (more info on Barry later in the week) were recently in LA because we were asked by Yanik Silver to be speakers at his Underground Marketing Seminar.
Now, I have done some public speaking before, and on a small stage (classroom, college etc) I have been fine, no nerves, no issues… but it is certainly not something I have ever enjoyed, I get no thrill from it, and I don’t enjoy it or benefit from it in any way, shape or form. But when I heard that there would be 300-400 people in the audience in LA, each of which had paid thousands of dollars to be there, that it would be beamed all over the Internet, and that DVD’s would be made from it, I have to say I was pretty anxious (understatement alert).
So anxious in fact, that I decided it would be best if I stuck to writing the bulk of the content for the presentation, and we use Barry’s excellent public speaking skills to present it.
Now, perhaps you can see the issue here… I had a chance to push my comfort levels, but it was something that not only am I not naturally very good at, but it is something I dislike intensely.
So it was a clash/contradiction in my brain-box.
As you all know, I have previously pushed myself and my comfort levels to extremes that most people could only dream of: I was a semi-professional golfer at 18, by 19 I was high street manager of a major retail store (a world age record for that brand), by 21 I was making a healthy living from the Internet, by 22 I moved to a foreign country where almost nobody spoke English, and at age 25 I was making 6 figures, and generally out-earning most people who were twice my age.
So clearly I am capable of pushing my boundaries, but all of the above have been areas where I have either had a natural talent, or it has been something I enjoy.
So I pose this question to you:
In your opinion, is it a good idea to push your boundaries with activities and tasks that you are naturally not so good at, and that you don’t get any level of enjoyment from at all?
I should add that public speaking is not, and has never been part of my career path or job description, but do you think I should have done it anyway? Even considering that my business partner is far more skilled in that area? And considering that my strength is in my writing abilities?
I look forward to your opinions.