“What are your greatest weaknesses?”
Surely you’ve been in a position where you had to answer that question during a job interview. Surely you’ve even googled “good weakness to say you have at a job interview” in order to get by.
I’ll tell you what my go-to response was: “Oh dear. I’m terribly impatient with people who underdeliver. And I tend to speak my mind a bit too openly when I see that we could do better”. Both true. And yet both so lamely leadership-oriented to try and impress my audience then.
“Now tell me, what’s your best quality?”
Crickets…. I always struggled with that one. How am I supposed to brag about my strengths before a recruiter? How do I even know what I’m good at? How un-modest! I would oh-so-elegantly tell them than my weaknesses were also my greatest strengths. Saved us all precious time during the interview, and it sure saved me hours of awkward introspection.
Fast-forward 15 years.
If you’re sharing an elevator with me these days, I’ll get direct eye contact and a smile from you by the time the doors close on us. We’ll have exchanged some real-life information by the time we reach the 1st floor. Country of origin and job details by the 2nd. I’ll have 3 people from my network I’ll want to introduce you to by the 3rd. We’ll have a blueprint for your next business venture by the time we’ve stepped onto the viewing deck (Yes – in my mind, we’re in my hometown, riding the Eiffel Tower lift on a gloriously sunny spring day. And I do need those precious few hundred meters between the 3 floors to do the talking.)
My brain is wired funny like that. As I listen to you I have my “back office” busy figuring out which “expanders” you should try and meet to help broaden your horizons, what little tweaks you could make to your business to get to the next level, what extra ways you could explore to achieve your greatest yet.
I used to absolutely hate that brain function of mine. I would not share any of it. It felt exhausting. It was non-stop. It never felt needed (and rarely welcomed) when a part of a huge, well-oiled company. I worried it was me being too intrusive. It made me feel like I was vain and cold (what is wrong with me – what do I see everything through the prism of networking and business opportunities? Can’t I just chill and let people chew on their tortilla chips instead of designing a business vision for them?).
Until I chose the path of least resistance and started my own company as a business mentor & business developer to help people turn their desire to launch / scale their business into a tangible, workable, beneficial possibility.
Now I know it’s my super power. And I find it exhilarating. I love nothing more than getting to know new people and bring them into my treasured network (gosh, I wish there was a better word than “network”!). I’m grateful that I get to shine a light for people around me. I love that it feels effortless. It still gets exhausting at times and I have yet to find the off switch. Just ask Ross, my Profitable Business coach (that’s actually the job I imagined for him -because he’d be absolutely brilliant at it – when he’s in fact my impressive money-management savvy friend who’s kindly agreed to help me put some sense into my business finances so that I don’t end up a statistic). Or ask Amber, the épicerie owner in my tiny French mountains village where I just went skiing. We started planning her return home to Australia over my order of saucisson sec and 36-months old aged comté, and got creative about the key elements of a business she could launch while on the road with her family.
Your turn now.Tell me: what is your weird talent? Your awkward IT factor? Your funny wiring? How do you put it to use?
Talking about business finances. Have you read the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz? So basic (I mean that as a compliment) and yet so impactful. It helps you fight this (natural?) behavior that most of us business founders demonstrate when we have money on our ( unique) business checking account: we look at the bank balance and then subconsciously start eating up that money. Nope. Back to envelops, but 21st century style. I actually contacted my French online bank Qonto to try and convince them to cocreate a service based on that technique for us French entrepreneurs. In the meanwhile, I’m DYI my way to creating several hard-to-access bank accounts serving specific goals (such as tax, owner’s pay, operating expenses, emergency fund and… profit!).
And my Profitable Business coach, Ross, totally approves of it ;
Thanks for your time. Thanks for your trust.
Until next time,