In Your Element
What are you good at? Do you hear people point out to you when you are in your element? What did it feel like during those times? Were you inspired? Did it feel like work? After that period of action was over, did you feel tired or more physically fatigued but mentally alive?
I've been preparing something special for Friday's post, so that is one of two reasons why this post is a little behind schedule. The other reason is that my mind went deep on a special project. It is a funny thing that happens when you go really deep into an idea. When you're in your element, completely absorbed and focused, it is like the world stops. Time does not stop and time certainly slipped away but I produced a side work that I thought was really cool, far more detailed and higher quality than was probably expected. I don't feel like I gave too much value, after all I produced a great work for a client and learned a lot about myself in the process. You should never regret giving too much value, too much of your special abilities.
Your Unique Contribution
Does this happen to everyone? Many of us go through frustrating times when we feel undervalued or unappreciated. But there are other times in the human experience when you realize that you are in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time. Those are the in your element times. Sometimes you hear that voice "this is the way, walk in it." When you listen to the teacher, speaking this into your mind, you can grow beyond the status quo.
Does everybody have a special gift or ability? I believe they do, but many have not developed the knack of hearing that voice or identifying their special purpose. For some fortunate people, it may be related to their profession. Those people can excel and can be naturally compensated for their effort. More difficult to work into a living, may be people who have a natural soft-skill like listening or serving. Certainly there are avenues where this can be developed into something that can provide professional opportunities.
It is hard when you have a disconnect between your identified gifts and certain deliverables for which paying customers are clamoring. There is tension and necessary change required to work out the difference. Produce value with no audience or interested parties, you are wasting your effort and gifts. Listen to what those around you want or have as their own obstacles or pain-points, you're one step better.
There is yet another option. Listening to the pain-points and identifying what those customers need but AREN'T asking for. When you can help them see that you've made, or are ready to make exactly what they want, that is where the magic happens. The cliche examples of this are Steve Jobs making not what everyone was asking for, but making what people didn't realize they couldn't live without. The second is Wayne Gretzky's memorable quote about not going to where the hockey puck is, but where it is going to be.
The best call to action I can offer is to listen closely to what others are asking or expressing. If you hear a repeating call for a solution to be solved at the same time you can see the path to a solution, start drawing a map for them. If they don't go there, make a product that will give it to them or help them move to where they need to go.
>> In the comments, please tell us a time when you felt like you were nailing it. Your effort was exciting and absorbing. Did others see that you were in your element and respond? Are you still employing the benefits you learned from that experience and others like it?
Photo: Koi Carp public domain