“You’re so in your element right now!”
Has anybody ever said that to you? What were you doing when they said it?
I’m a bit of a nut about natural talent. I’ve always been fascinated by people who are exceptional at what they do.
I studied dance for many years in my childhood (I still pull out my tap shoes now and then!) and wasn’t bad at it — but everything came harder to me than the “naturals” around me. Sheer enthusiasm for the art allowed me to see some success as a competitive dancer and assistant teacher at my little studio. But can you imagine if that same passion had been paired with the advantage of an innate natural talent?
That’s when people become a force of nature.
So I’ve spent a good part of my adult life seeking out that coveted place where my talent intersects my passion. (And a great deal more time embracing the fact that it wasn’t in the realm of something “cool,” like art or theatre.) I believe that, once you find that thing, you have no choice but to honour it.
Elizabeth Gilbert calls this your “Vocation.” Gay Hendricks calls it your “Zone of Genius.” I don’t have a fancy word for it… I just refer to it as my craft.
When I work with somebody on developing their brand, the goal is always to design a business around their craft; the work that truly makes them shine. But I’ve realized that many of us jump into the entrepreneurial journey without a good sense of what our craft really is. And that makes things challenging.
Because, if you don’t have a vice grip on your craft or vocation, you’ll more easily get whisked away in this new dimension of your life: business.
You will start to forget what it is you are actually required to be good at.
You will beat yourself up for shortcomings as a business owner that have nothing to do with your aptitude at your craft. (Even if your craft falls somewhere within the realm of business expertise, it can be freeing to realize that doesn’t mean you have to have it all down pat.)
Finally, as you become immersed in a sea of business training, you can unintentionally neglect your learning and growth where it matters. The mastery of your craft will stagnate as you struggle to get your business skills up to speed.
And the truth is, building a substantial brand doesn’t come from getting better at business… it comes from becoming the best you can be at your craft.
Too many of the people I encounter in the online business world are dangerously ignoring this fact and worrying about Instagram tactics instead of investing in and reinforcing their leadership in their field.
I’m not saying that basic marketing and business skills aren’t important — of course they matter — but they’re only going to work if you actually stay passionate about and exceptional at what you do. And the way you do that is knowing your craft and staying loyally anchored to it in the face of all the demands business throws your way.
So what is your craft?
What field of knowledge or expertise are you committing to and claiming as your own?
When it isn’t something traditional like photography or writing, it can seem extra challenging to nail down and put a name to it — but it’s still equally important and valuable. It can be holistic medicine, it can be research, it can be styling — the answer should be straightforward. What do you want to be a student of for the rest of your life?
Identify what it is you’re doing when you are in your element, and hold true to that craft no matter what challenges or opportunities business throws your way.