Are you playing to your strengths? Or fighting your weaknesses?
I was chatting with an entrepreneur today, who had read my post on The #1 Best Selling Story.
He liked the story and the template I gave in the article. He thought he could make it work for him.
And so he sat down to write out his version of the story.
I read it — and it didn’t quite work.
Now, I’m not going to call this guy out publicly. I also won’t include too many details for the same reason.
But I will share a very important observation, based on this…
Some people are better “recorded” and others are better “live.”
I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. As long as I can remember. Ask me to sit down and write about just about any topic, and I can pull it off. I’ll do my research, gather my thoughts, and get the message down.
Ask me to give an impromptu speech, though, and I struggle. Even if you were to give me talking points, I wouldn’t be that great.
I do like to do presentations. And I do riff a bit when I do them. But I’m always following a carefully-constructed outline. Often I’ll rip through a PowerPoint at multiple slides per minute, just because that’s what I need to do to stay on-narrative.
I do best when I gather my thoughts beforehand, arrange them, prepare my message, and then deliver it.
Given the choice, I’m usually going to prefer writing. But I can do “live” — as long as I’m well-enough prepared, or am talking about a subject that I’m intimately familiar with.
Back to our friendly entrepreneur and budding story-seller…
His business is in a field where I know he’s constantly performing live and off-the-cuff. It’s an entertainment gig. It requires a lot of improvisation. Sure, there’s always prep work. But by-and-large, if you look at anybody in this guy’s line of work, a good 90% of what they do is going to be spontaneous and in the moment.
And yet, this guy tried to sit down and tell his story — by writing it out.
It was clear this wasn’t his strength. It was clear he was fighting his weakness. His writing was labored, and uninspired. It was written like he thought a writer should write… Not like someone with a story to share.
The gist of his message was okay. The delivery left a lot to be desired.
And so I suggested he might be better off telling it via video, or some other medium that would capture his “live” performance.
If that’s his strength, why not play to it? Why fight through his weakness, just to get sub-par results?
The more you play to your strengths and Unique Ability, the easier success becomes…
Dan Sullivan has tracked this phenomenon of business leaders playing to their strengths, and building a support structure around themselves to fill in their gaps.
By and large, that’s what the world’s most successful people do (in business and many other fields).
They find out what they do better than anyone else. And they do that. Then, they add members to their team who can take care of everything else.
If you have an entire team of complimentary unique abilities, you have everybody doing their very best work. And because you are strong where I’m weak and vise-versa, we have strengths everywhere we need them.
In the context of marketing and selling, it’s very important to figure out if you’re better “recorded” or “live.”
I’m pulling these terms from Perry Marshall’s Marketing DNA Test (highly recommended!).
If you’re at the far extreme of “Recorded” it means you plan and plot down to the last detail, and everything is scripted.
Pre-writing a VSL, then doing 38 takes until it’s perfect is the best way for you to get your sales presentation out into the world.
If you’re at the far extreme of “Live,” you’re best in the moment, with no prep, just winging it. You turn on Facebook’s new Live video feature, and pour yourself out for the world to see.
We all have our natural preference across this spectrum.
I’m roughly in the middle — though I lean a little toward recorded. I prep and plot, but then I can riff from there.
Where are you? And even more importantly…
What does this say about how you should be telling your story?
If you get in your groove and really shine when you’re improvising in the moment, why would you try to write your story out?
Spend a few moments thinking about what you’re going to say, then hit record. Video, audio, whatever. Just let it out. That’s playing to your strengths.
That’s one of the biggest, most impactful recommendations I made to this entrepreneur about telling his story. I gave some tips for telling it better. But the biggest thing was that he needed to play to his strengths by telling the story “live.”
On the other hand, if you prefer to be cooped up in your cave and spent months perfecting your message, do that.
It’s all about making the most of what you do best.
When you’re in your element, people will notice. And you’ll be attractive to the things you want to have in your life.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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