You have been lied to.
In fact, we have all been lied to. The reason? Most people don’t want you to know a simple fact: Occasional success is achievable, and the journey is common.
I thought success meant money, respect, and maybe even fame. That skewed definition led me to law school, where I dropped out after a miserable semester. Then I delved into corporate finance, where I suffered in a cubicle for over a year before I just couldn’t take it anymore and submitted my resignation. I then tried to think of properties that would give me the freedom and fulfillment that I wanted. No
One day I was listening to a business podcast and the host shared a quote that practically stuck out of my earbuds and slapped my face.
“Don’t try to become a person of success, but a person of worth.” – Albert Einstein
It changed my life. As a valuable person, I was able to achieve my goal of financial freedom and fulfillment. It allowed me to finally keep a promise I made in 2003. It has given me the opportunity to share how the path together will lead you to unusual success. The common path works.
It works because it is easy. It works because it’s timeless. It works because of a truth you must never forget: if you offer the best solution to a real problem, you will find unusual success.
Your common path to unusual success begins with an idea – a big idea.
There are two mistakes people make when trying to identify their big idea. First, they believe that their big idea can be something they are just passionate about. I love muffins! I will open a bakery! Second, they believe that their big idea is something they only have expertise in. I know how to program; I will create websites!
Your big idea isn’t either / or. It is not something that you are passionate about or have expertise in. It is both. Your big idea has to be a combination of your passions and expertise.
Let’s look at scenario one, just passion. Having passion for your big idea is important. You must be excited to be working on your big idea every day. However, if all you have is passion and you don’t provide the world with a necessary solution, then your idea isn’t going to grow in importance.
Everyone is tuned to the same radio station: WIIFM or what’s in it for me? Sure, people will be glad you have a passion, but if they don’t benefit directly from your passion they will never become a customer, you will never generate sales, and your big idea will become nothing more than a hobby.
Now let’s look at scenario two: just expertise. It’s great to be great at something. It is wonderful to share your knowledge with the world. However, if you lack passion, excitement, and curiosity about your area of expertise, you will never achieve fulfillment.
The common path to unusual success is easy, but it takes time. If you lack passion for your big idea, one day you will wake up to find that you are no longer enjoying what you are doing and you will stop. You also have competitors who are enthusiastic about the subject you have chosen and who win every time.
Now that you can see the errors in the two scenarios above, let’s talk about the final scenario. Here you have both passion and expertise for your big idea. Your idea really inspires you and offers the world real added value. This is your big idea. This is your fire zone!
Now it is time to walk you through the practice that will take you to your big idea so that you can live in your fire zone every day.
Your fire zone
You will need a piece of paper for this exercise. Draw a line in the middle and write passion on the left and expertise on the right.
Set a timer for five minutes and press start.
Spend the entire five minutes writing down everything you are passionate about. What excites you What turns you on? What was your passion as a child, young adult, adult? What would you do tomorrow if you had a completely empty schedule and no responsibility?
Write down everything that comes to mind.
OK, now it’s time to go to the right page: your area of expertise. Set a timer again for five minutes and press start. Spend the entire five minutes writing down everything you are an expert at.
- What skills did you acquire?
- What are you good at
- What is your experience over the years?
- Ask your family and friends how they would respond to the question: What does this do? [your name] do well? (You might be shocked by what others consider you to be experts, what you thought was normal.)
Now is the time to identify where your passions merge with your skills – where your curiosity merges with your expertise. Draw arrows that connect your passions with your expertise. These connections are your fire zones. Here you choose your big idea.
On my passionate side, I wrote: “Have conversations with successful entrepreneurs.” On my technical page, I had written: “Facilitate discussions and public speaking from my time in the US Army and in the corporate finance division.” Realizing that this was a potential fire zone, I drew an arrow connecting the two. I wondered what possibilities there would be to combine this passion and skills. Then came the “aha” moment: a podcast!
I loved listening to podcasts interviewing successful men and women. I had experience conducting interviews in my previous careers. Why not start my own podcast interviewing successful entrepreneurs and sharing their stories with the world?
We live in a world that offers unlimited possibilities
and information at our fingertips. With opportunity comes excitement and with information comes power. Today is the day we take a stand. The common path to unusual success does not lead to success overnight. It is the North Star on your path to financial freedom and fulfillment. And it starts with a big idea. Are you ready?
On the path to unusual success together by John Lee Dumas Copyright © 2021 by John Lee Dumas. Used with permission from HarperCollins Leadership. www.harpercollinsleadership.com.
Photo courtesy John Lee Dumas
John Lee Dumas is the host of Entrepreneurs on Fire, an award-winning podcast interviewing inspiring entrepreneurs who are truly on fire. With over 2500 episodes, more than 1 million listeners per month and seven-digit annual sales, JLD is just getting started. Visit EOFire.com to set your corporate journey on fire!