The Value in What You Are NOT, from a Rockstar Entrepreneur

Last week, as I was chatting with a stand-up colleague and friend, who also happens to be a rockstar entrepreneur, about the power of honing in on and using our most unique and natural Talents, a significant business parallel occurred to me.
Naming and claiming your unique Strengths is much like defining a targeted, narrowed-down business niche.
In both cases, you must get really clear about who you are and what you offer. AND just as importantly, if not more, you must get really clear about who you are NOT and what you DO NOT offer.
This secondary effect can be scary. Not everyone is good at it. Yet, its implementation is crucial for success.
My own business niche and Strengths are certainly still a work in progress.
What I am learning, as I intentionally live my life, run my business, and hold my family from a place of Strength, is that I am getting more and more comfortable with the things I am not.
Empathetic, rarely.
Idea-generator, almost never.
Looking to bring others into my inner circle…I so wish that was natural, but…nope.
A social butterfly…alone time is more my forte.
Seth Williams over at is a compelling example of this in both business and Strengths.
  • His niche: Real world guidance for part-time real estate investors, specifically land investing.
  • His Strengths: Focus, Futuristic, Empathy, Achiever, Intellection.

By stating who he is, there becomes clarity around who he is not.

While he is perhaps one of the wittiest guys I know, this does not come by way of quick quirks and off the cuff soliloquies (which may be true of someone with Communication talent). Rather, it comes from a place of intentional thoughtfulness, preparedness, and quiet (Intellection super-power at work).
As he vulnerably and authentically describes in our interview, it is his Empathy strength that allows connection with and true care for his audience, not an innate sociability or desire to win others over (which is typically true of those with Woo talent).
By narrowing his online-business niche, he is offering specific, usable value to a defined set of folks—in this case, part time real estate, land investors. When you come across, you get a clear picture of whether or not his business is a fit for you. There is little ambiguity because by focusing on who he is, and being confident in that, he allows you into what he is not.
It requires clarity. It requires humility.
And it is essential. Both in business and in talents.
As we were chatting, Seth reminded me of an attribution from Albert Einstein:
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
The simplicity and hilarity of this insight brings the point to clarity. A fish can be defined by what it is, and there is value in that—a swimming beauty of the sea (clearly I’m not a marine biologist!). But what really makes him stand apart and makes his abilities shine is in acknowledging and accepting what he is not—an air-breathing, tree-climber. When he lets go of that, his brilliance shines.
Both in business and in Strengths, the inability or unwillingness to define the “NOT” is crippling. It can lead to a lack of clarity. A lack of specificity. A lack of value. Being spread too thin. Perpetually fixing weaknesses.
And, as in the case of the fish, you could live your whole life “shoulding” all over yourself—believing you are less than you should be. That you do not have what it takes.
But really, you have everything it takes, especially when you hold onto and refine what you are and let go of what you are NOT.
If you would like professional, scientific insight into your Top 5 strengths, consider the power of the StrengthsFinder. I’ve seen it, and I’m living it.

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