In 1936, Irving Naxon invented what is now known as the Crock Pot. Naxon got the idea for the "Beanery" from stories he heard from his grandma, Tamara, who was from Lithuania. Each Friday, she would have to walk down to the bakery with a pot of uncooked stew to have them slow cook it in their ovens.
In 1971, Irvin Naxon sold his slow cooker to Rival Manufacturing. Rival streamlined the design, renamed it the Crock Pot, and has been selling it ever since.
It’s amazing to see how a family story led Naxon to use his expertise to create something that millions of people use today.
Which goes to show that we never know what our expertise will lead to.
When we look at all the different ways we can help others transform, it can be a little daunting. We know we can’t help them with everything. We have to choose just one area of transformation. But how do we decide?
Our expertise and experience can play a big part in helping us hone it down to one.
What areas of expertise can you pull from?
First, we can look at industry experience. What jobs have you had? What volunteer positions have given you experience? What skills and knowledge did you gain from each? I’m betting it’s more than you think.
For example, one of the positions I’ve held in the past was Project Manager for Rand McNally, the map and atlas folks. At first glance, you would never think that the knowledge and skills I gained there would apply to being a business coach who coaches and mentors other coaches.
I learned project management, of course. And... I learned web design & development, user-interface design, and most how to manage people. All handy skills to have when trying to run a coaching business.
Being able to pass that knowledge and skills on to my coach clients has been priceless.
If you’re struggling to decide on how you want to help people transform...
I recommend a brainstorming session or two. Concentrate on capturing the skills and knowledge you gained from the following experiences:
By the end you should have a ridiculously long list of expertise, knowledge, and interests.
Why having many areas of expertise is awesome
Once you’ve got your list, it may look a bit like mine did.
There may be what looks like a bit of chaos — disconnected bits that don’t seem to fit together at all. That’s actually good. We can work with that.
When I look back at all my experiences, not only do I find what I mentioned above — project management, web design / development, managing people...
... but I also found 3D animation & modeling, graphic design, organizational development, a whole lotta tech, psychology (of course), and a whole lot of writing.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
Good heavens, did that girl have any direction?
Nope. Not in my 20’s and 30’s.
I was still trying to figure things out. I had a ton of interests and no direction.
Fortunately, it all comes together now.
(Maybe not the 3D animation & modeling. I’m still trying to figure that one out.)
But everything else melds together beautifully when I’m helping clients.
Those random experiences, interests, and skills were PREPARING me for what I do now.
If you take a higher level view of your list, I bet you’ll begin to see how it fits together in a beautiful blend that makes you awesomely unique.
That beautiful blend is your genius zone. And that is where you’ll find your ONE transformation that you can help your clients achieve. The bones are in there.
Finding & Filling the gaps
Once you’ve got that awesome list and you’ve got an idea or two of what your ONE transformation could be, it’s time to find and fill the gaps.
Your past experience and expertise may not going to give you everything you need to help people transform.
When I first started coaching, I didn’t know a thing about business. I didn’t know how to help myself much less help other coaches. That was a huge gap I had to fill. Fortunately, the past six years has been all about filling that gap.
So what are your gaps? Do you need more formal education? Or will a few carefully selected books and a bit of experience suffice?
At this point I’d like to give you one warning.
Be careful of imposter syndrome when you look at finding and filling the gaps. It’s one thing to look at the gap objectively and see that you’re missing a few pieces. It’s another to feel like a fraud or an imposter and think you need a ton of schooling to coach.
Imposter syndrome is real and most people feel it at some point in their lives.
Just because you may feel like an imposter does not mean that you are. In grad school, I had a couple of Ph.D. level college professors who talked about this. Even after 20 years in the field, they still felt like imposters on occasion.
Personally, I think it’s just part of being human. And it’s certainly part of being a coach.
One of the things I’ve heard from past clients is that they don’t know how to combine their multiple skill sets. And what I tell them is that is ok. You can start with one. Your other expertise and experiences will come into play naturally. They’re a part of who you are now.
For example, even when I’m not designing anything, the design thinking I learned in school often informs my coaching — problem solving, creativity, etc.
It’s not something I have to think about. It just naturally happens.
It will be the same for you.
I hope you found this helpful.
With love & joy,
P.S. Is there someone in your life who could benefit from reading this post? Why not share this with them?