I find as my life unfolds that I am having more influence with less effort. This is true for clients we coach too. Nearly everyone who comes to us wants to be of benefit, to make the world a better place in some way. What a gift to see talented people building amazing companies, changing industries, and uplifting their family and friends. For so many, bringing change is hard work. Yet, in spite of going for it flat out, most also wish they could have more impact more quickly. Here the two things to focus on to have more influence with less effort.
1. Clarify Your Unique Gift
The temptation is to try to think bigger. Passionate leaders feel the needs of their customers—the needs of the world—deeply. When clients declare, “We have to do more faster”, it is easy to feel the futility of trying to whip themselves into pushing harder, or trying to develop even bigger more daring products when the market isn’t ready. To have more impact, you have to think smaller. You want to look inward instead of outward.
You are unique. There is something about you that no one else you know has. Literally, for everything else, others can do it, many better than you. Find what is uniquely yours to do and focus only on that. For example, a client clarified how he has the gift not only to see but to train others to predict timing of emerging trends in his industry. Another clarified how he harmonizes a highly talented team of rogues with opposite skillsets.
How do you clarify your gift? Ask the people who know you well from different angles. Or, better still, have someone conduct that kind of inquiry for you. This is not about a fixed concept of who you are. Your self awareness will keep evolving. For where you are right now, what is it that you and only you are bringing?
2. Optimize for the Person in Front of You Now
If you are having more impact with less effort, it is because your unique gift is transmitting with more precision and potency through the people close to you. The skill you want to develop is less about your impact on the world and more about your impact on the person right in front of you now. Specifically, seeing how your unique gift can benefit them most.
I suggest keeping a note for each person you work with closely. Say 6-8 people. Have a 20-minute time slot each week—like a spiritual practice—where you think and write about each person. Think about how your unique gift benefits them. How can you give them more benefit? Think about what they are getting from you that is not really your gift. Can you find some other way for them to get that?
Once you have agreement with the people around you as to what is and what is not yours to give, those relationships multiply in leverage. Likely, you’ll be having fun too!