Discovering your Unique Ability™ with Shannon Waller of Strategic Coach

Discovering your Unique Ability™ with Shannon Waller of Strategic Coach

We are often all too aware of our faults, but how familiar are we with our unique strengths? In today’s conversation, Shannon walks us through how to identify our unique abilities and leverage them to find meaningful work where we will thrive.

You can find Shannon online @StrategicCoach on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and at

Photo of Shannon Waller
Shannon Waller

The Entrepreneurial Team Strategist of Strategic Coach, which is a premier global coaching program for entrepreneurs.

Maren Kate 0:00

Welcome. So today's guest I'm incredibly excited to chat with. Her name is Shannon Waller. She's currently the director and team coach as well as an entrepreneurial team strategist at Strategic Coach, which is the global leader in entrepreneurial coaching for over 30 years. And Shannon, you and I met at a not even a conference, a small networking event in Austin back when you could actually travel and go to networking events. And I have been super interested in Strategic Coach what you guys do there, but also unique ability and you know, the system you've developed. So I'm really excited to chat with you excited for our listeners to get to just hear a bunch of stuff that will help them discover, you know, what, what their, their, I guess unique ability is? So yeah, welcome. Thanks for joining us.

Shannon Waller 0:52

Well, thank you so much for having us and having me and it was just delightful to meet you at the bullseye event with Nick Sonnenberg and we had an hour. And just really, I mean, I'm thrilled with your insights into how remote work works, and really excited to help people figure out their unique ability and tools that can help them do that. Amazing.

Maren Kate 1:13

So just in in a few minutes, can you tell our audience kind of about Strategic Coach? For those who aren't familiar? Yes, how long? How long do we have?

Shannon Waller 1:23

Coach and I actually joined in 1991. So I've been around for most of those 30 plus years, which is kind of fun. So Strategic Coach is exactly what you described. It really is the premier global coaching program for entrepreneurs. And as one of one person described, it really is one of the most comprehensive programs. So we really are focused on helping successful entrepreneurs, because that's kind of our starting point. I mean, love startups. But unfortunately, that's just not really Who are we don't serve them the best in terms of an audience. But once an entrepreneur has reached a certain success level, they hit what we call a ceiling of complexity. It's either a complexity of scarcity or a price. complexity of abundance or sometimes a combination of the two. And what we really help people do is dramatically expand their freedom of time. So that means time off. That means time to spend with doing the most important activities, all the things that we feel time crunched about. We also help them expand their freedom of money, which is very helpful because it helps by time and by some other things that entrepreneurs are keen on having more of, and then freedom of relationship. So a lot of the big challenges for entrepreneurs is they get kind of they twist themselves into shape to be attracted to people, they sometimes don't even like, so freedom of relationship is freedom to work with the phenomenal team that you want to work with, which will be part of our conversation, great vendors and suppliers and of course clients. So that freedom of relationship is that you can you can say no and you can call me the buyer. And then ultimately, it's really, really freedom of purpose which ties in to unique ability is that are you free to do what you want, what you can't make the contribution you want to make happen. The impact you that you want to make on other people and on your community and on your family and be the best you is how I like to think about it. So, Coach bottom line, we have lots of different tools and concepts and thinking processes to help people expand those freedoms. But it really boils down to expanding freedom of time, money, relationship and purpose. And that is, that's why we're here. That's why we're on the planet.

Maren Kate 3:24

So tell me a little bit more about unique ability and and how that came. Did that come out of Strategic Coach? Was that a framework you guys were working on before? How did that come to be? And and what is it?

Shannon Waller 3:36

So Dan Solomon is co founder of Strategic Coach with App Smith, who's also his wife and business partner and as we like Dan likes to say no, Babs no coach. So she's the reason why this company, so everyone who runs Strategic Coach, it's not Dan. It's backed by Dan. Before he was a Strategic Coach was which is a great term given to him by one of his clients. He actually worked in Canada 1980 when it was the year of the disabled, and one of his insights, as he went through an interview, he told really quickly did it from a graphic artist advertising standpoint, not from the traditional bureaucratic government form. But he put together this amazing book of people with disabilities across Canada, because he's based now in Toronto, American now in Toronto. And one of the things he discovered is that disabled people are just like evil people. They have things that they were uniquely capable of doing and things that they couldn't do. And then his insight was, oh, we're probably all like that. We all probably have unique abilities and frankly, unique disabilities, truth we don't, some of them are just more obvious than others. So that was actually the genesis of the idea of immutability is that we all have things that which we are super bad and all all of us are things that which we're frankly, we call it incompetent at that we're this way where we're not put on the planet to do we have, we have there's a better and higher higher use of us. So that's really where you need to go. came from. And it's been developed over the years, and we've come up with lots of different processes to help do it. And then Julia Waller, who happens to be my sister is one who loves to put together and integrate things. And she put it into a process. And that's really what's documented in our book and ability 2.0 discovery. That's our second version of the ability book. And it really articulates the entire start to finish process which tools to use questions to ask people that know you well, to help people really get a handle on what their unique ability is.

Maren Kate 5:32

And I'm assuming it's not just for entrepreneurs, you could be a millennial professional, you could be you know, maybe you're graduating college and you're like, what am I going to do in this new economy? Like what I mean, I think universities as a dropout, proud dropout myself, I made it to my senior year and then I was like, You know what, I'm good. But I think one of the things and maybe this is just my school, but I think it's more than this is University and education generally doesn't prepare For we learn all this stuff, but then it doesn't prepare us for actually like, how to get a job or what kind of job I should get. You know, you can go to college for your history degree, but you don't know what next is. So I was like, What is? Who should be digging into their unique ability? Is there a type of prototype? Or is it more general than that?

Shannon Waller 6:20

I would say everyone, first of all, everyone has unique ability. Yeah, I believe that. So whether or not you know what it is, and I'm putting it in use? That's a different question. So it's interesting because the benefits of figuring out what your unique ability is, is that you really get a lot you become a lot more discerning. So to your point for someone who's in a job search, or I was completely clueless when I left University, and like, Oh my gosh, how am I going to earn a living? But yeah, just a fairly terrifying prospect when you're in your early 20s. And it was like, Oh, it's so scary. And and my talents didn't suit a lot of what academia had to offer. Put that way. Turns out that I'm really, I'd love presenting i'd love coaching, I'm good at selling. You know, there's that's really where my talents lie, but they don't, not in researching, not in, not in organizing not a lot of the corporate stuff either. So I was like, Where's my home, where's my fit and I had no tools and no coaching on how to get there. Now I happen I had some very fortuitous places where I landed to help me figure that out. And so people who encouraged me and saw things in me, but there wasn't a process for that. And so if you want to be happy with what you're doing, if you want to, it's interesting about unique ability. So bottom line, let me just define unique ability. So yeah, this is a concept. So unique ability at its most essential are though when you are doing what you are best at. So this is where you have superior skill. And that is not just your ego talking. Other people would agree that this is something that they would your go to person for this type of activity or this you know, What is whatever it is you're doing. And because you have a way of looking at it of doing it quickly, you have insight into it, you know, there's just some you have a superior skill. It could be anything from a systems talent or researching talent to a communication talent. There's a whole gamut. But not only are you excellent at it, you have passion for it, you. You always, you know, because you love it so much, you can always see ways to get better. So there's a sense of never ending improvement, and it gives you a ton of energy, you might be physically tired, but in every other way you're like, on fire. So that's what your unique ability is. And if you're talking to someone and having conversation, watch where their eyes light up, or that that's a topic or that's a way of doing something that just fuels them. So it gives you energy, it doesn't take energy. So that's an internal barometer that you can use. But the external one is other people say, hey, Marin, you're awesome at this, can you help me? And then you have to discern whether or not something is that you're okay. Or you just like, because that would be excellent or whether or not something you're really truly passionate about. And that's that that delicate combination is unique ability. So, everyone has one, but very few people give it any attention. A lot of times people are trying to fit themselves into an existing role in a corporation or, you know, in medicine or in a hospital, you know, whatever environment you want to go into, but they don't like think okay, just to your point earlier, what's suited best to me, you know, make the best contribution, how can I make the best impact? Who do I care about? Who's my audience? People don't tend to ask that type of question.

Maren Kate 9:36

How do people then thinking about people who are early in their career or who you know, maybe just got out of university or even who perhaps are getting back into the workforce? How do you figure that was a big thing I struggled with? Just like, what am I? when when when you don't have a traditional path, maybe? How do you figure that out?

Shannon Waller 10:00

Good question. I like to start with some self awareness. And not just me sitting. It's not navel gazing, by the way, if I know thyself is one of my personal mottos, and one that I get as many people listen to as I can. So it really helps to know especially in comparison to other people how you show up in a positive way I'm not, we're all very well aware of of our faults. So I love to use profiles. So starting with a profile that helps identify your strengths. So two of the main ones that well, the two ones we really recommend with with the ability process to give language all of us we all have talents, we all have strengths, but sometimes we don't have a way to describe them. And that's really frustrating. If you want to, you know, pitch yourself to somebody, how do you articulate how you can contribute? That's not Yeah, question answer, but the tools that the profiles and they're not tests you can't fail them are really important. So our two favorites are Colby so kayo lbe calm Colby is not a personality test, nor is it an intelligence test. Okay? So it's not it's not in that realm, which are really the two realms that people are most familiar with. So it's not your head, it's not your heart, it's your gut. It's how you how you will take action and how you problem solve is incredibly accurate, very, very predictive. And it measures how how your mental energy plays out in terms of fact finding you can be long or short, not weak or strong, long or short. You know, your follow through you know, are you super sequential or very adaptable? You know, your Quick Start So, are you all about innovating are all about stabilizing? And then finally, implementer which is about the tangible hands on you know, do you want do you need to have things in a really concrete fashion Are you someone who's who's quite happy up well, quite successful operating in the abstract. Again, I it's hard not to use effective words when I describe them, like a need than a want but Colby is brilliant for you know, you You can. There's so many Kathy Colby has actually created a whole career way to look at Careers because there's things that you might think you're interested in, because intellectually, they're cool. But then what is required for you to actually deliver the results in that role is not anything you would ever want to do, given how your mind plays out. So that's a godsend. Like just knowing what not to do is actually eliminates a whole bunch of confusing possibilities. And the other one that some people might be even more familiar with is Clifton strengths. And this is, you know, dondo Clifton

Maren Kate 12:34

founders that from the strength the Strengths Finder,

Shannon Waller 12:36

yeah, yeah, they changed their name of the profile a little bit. And by the way, just a little, they've reduced the price of all 34. So they probably their sample size when they started was over 2 million people. Good. Wow. I know. I learned about sample sizes. Recently. Reading Thinking Fast thinking slow and Daniel Kahneman. It's really important. Your sample size, then yeah. And I think they're up to 14 million. There's a counter on their website, maybe more. And so a lot of people done strengths, Strengths Finder, Gallup strengths. And it's phenomenal because it will give you your top five strengths. And they go into four different themes, which are just very useful to know do you have relationship themes or strategic thinking themes or another one is executing things, I don't have very many of those. So important to know, kind of how your your, you know, your preferences, play out your talents and your strengths. And so and then it gives you, you know, where you get all 34 it also gives you your bottom five, and that's kind of where you'd never go. So if you Yeah, you had all these relationship strengths in the bottom. Should you be in a relationship role? Probably not. But if you're if you're strategic thinking then get into a role where that's really getting mixed, really good use of that. And it was very like Colby really validated, how I how I did things and who I was at a very fundamental level, and I found Strengths Finder gallop strengths. Really are Clifton top five and they also call it it really gave me direction. Like I really developed my strategic strength after I read about like, Oh yeah, I guess I do have that. And then I start exploring I'm like, Oh, I really do have that. And it was amazing so it's both of them are brilliant for so I would start there hundred percent with tools that can help give language to your natural talents and strengths.

Maren Kate 14:30

And that's so true because I was just I was reading an article last night Something about like your I forgot the quote, but it's around that your, your world is is based on your language. So like your opportunity, your ability is based on how much how you can verbalize it or write it down. And I think especially in remote, that's something so for my my recruiting firm Audra we one of the things that we're always looking for when we're helping companies recruit fully remote talent is there really Communication. Because no matter what role you're in, you have to be able to communicate clearly. Because a lot of companies, you're not going to be doing video conferencing, you're not most of 95% of your work is going to be email Slack, you know, whatever it is. And it's amazing. It's kind of like we're having this Renaissance where writing is becoming very important again, which I personally like as someone who enjoys writing. And so it's like, I it's, I'm honestly writing this down. I'm gonna do this afterwards. So Clifton strengths, Colby test, and then I assume unique ability, pulls, pulls from both of those and then creates an even deeper kind of understanding.

Shannon Waller 15:41

Yes, so I'll walk through the six step process if that's helpful. So we strongly recommend getting the profiles. It's super fun. And by the way, once you do you again, slight change of language, it's really important to think of it as a profile that only measures your stria right, no one can fail. Which is kind of delightful to actually take take a series of questions and not having you know can't get a failing grade that's refreshing. So this is when and if you're encouraging anyone else to do it please stress that point because people get very anxious about taking tests but then you're gonna you're immediately gonna want to know your partner's your friends I have my entire family do it I profiled my husband before I married him nice was a long time ago now. It does help because it just means that you can better understand yourself and then you in relation to others that's really the benefit of that. So really Colby Strengths Finder huge and being go to Gallup strength center calm if you want to do that. And by the way, there's zero relationship formally between our companies. Same with Colby. We just really love what they do certified but that's because I care about there's no financial arrangement. So I'm only saying this because it's so useful in terms of helping to put language around things. So Gallup is and Gallup and Colby are critical. Then we also have you ask you send out an email to somebody called communicability questions. So we have you sent an email to people, preferably that have seen you in action, by the way, not just like you. So I would choose people who know you, well, you know, they know you enough to go. You want to ask them, you know, I'm doing this process, I'd love to know what you think is my unique ability. Now you don't, please do not ask them what they think is your disability, you already know that you do not need. That's not the kind of communication you're looking for. What you're looking for is when you show up as your best How do you show up? What difference are you making? And I have to tell you for ever having a bad day keeper responses, they're amazing. People are they're like, Oh my gosh, what I really appreciate about you this way I love about you. This is how you show up to me this is what I can count on you for. It's It's so validating and something you might think you're mysterious to others you're not and even people in very different areas of your life will actually come up with the same same response.

Maren Kate 17:59

I feel like other people have better I often have better understandings of us than we do. Hundred percent.

Shannon Waller 18:03

Yeah, we think we're like behind this this, you know, barrier. Yeah. Which is kind of fun. But it's it's powerful because something that you may not have given any value to you. So you may have completely taken for granted this particular capability. And we often do that's actually the trick with unique ability is that because there's never an improvement, we can always seem to get better, we kind of assume we must be very good. Or it's so obvious to us. We're like, doesn't everybody do it that way? Yeah, they really don't. And so you get this you're holding, you're asking them to hold up a mirror and you're like, but it's like, here's what's super valuable about you. Here's what I really appreciate. Well, that's incredible information to have. So then we get into something called your 10 best usability habits. So then we ask, Well, what are you doing that has people say that about you? And that's it. So then you're kind of peeling back the curtain you're trying to it's a little bit like trying to look at your skin from the end. To say, just sometimes why it's nice to have a coach. But what's great about the way that Julia wrote a workbook that goes along a notebook that goes along with the book, and it's like sitting down with Julia, she's amazing. And she's like being sitting down with a coach and take yourself out to a cafe when you can do that. And fill it out. It's she just talks you through the whole process. So what are you doing that has people say that about you so if that's what your your friend, if that's what's happening on your friend stage, then what are you doing in the backstage Has that happened and then out of that, you can actually craft a one sentence statement about what you do and why you do it. Now that takes some work, a little bit of, you know, again, holding up that mirror, and then when we get to and there's you can do that sections in either order. You also can list everything you're doing we call an activity inventory, piece, paper, one of our tools whenever and this is all at unique By the way, everyone wants to go check it out. And so you have to list your activity inventory. And then we have you categorize your current activities. You could choose work or you could choose life or both. And you categorize it as to whether or not you're unique, which means you have superior skill and you love doing it. Whether or not it's excellence. This is where you have superior skill, but no passion, but people still say, Hey, can you help me with this? You're so great. You're like, okay, so you got a great teamwork, great reputation, sometimes great cash, but inside your little board, yeah, that's still excellent. I would choose that over the other two. competent is when you're adequate, or you're okay. You reach minimum standard, but so to a lot of other people. So that's a lot of competition. As you are going out and looking for remote work I would make sure you do not competent to me is not a high standard. Well, if you're excellent at and then finally, there's just some things that you were not put on the planet to do. And that's what we call incompetent and that's when you do put in the time and effort. You don't get the result. So me and just to relate Colby back to this, I'm a three out of 10 on factfinder and a two out of 10 on follow through. Now, no one knows really what that means, but it means my mental energy for being super specific or following a structure. Last maybe five to 10 minutes. If it's in the morning, it's pretty much gone by noon. So you Yeah, thank you. I'm glad to know I'm alone.

Maren Kate 21:31

So accurate inventory taking really not, not on my list of detail oriented has I mean, it's why I started a virtual assistant service like 10 years ago because I was like, I can't, I just cannot like I'm not going to be able to even live in the world If I can't have people who are detail oriented, check or do my stuff because I just it kills me. Yeah, it is. It has zero to do with intelligence. Yeah, it just drains your energy. What are you just you run out of mental energy and that's my Colby. So is so useful, because I wish I'd known that back then because I beat myself up For years at my first startup, because I would always be around, especially in San Francisco on different, everyone's super smart. I always felt like a dumb dumb, but there were people who had obviously different energy than me where they could do back to back. Literally melt under the table, or they could do all this detail stuff. And I always thought, Well, clearly they're better than me. And I'm not as good as they are not realizing that Oh, no, that's what gives them energy. So they're fine. They're, and this is what gives me energy.

Shannon Waller 22:30

I wish I'd known about it way earlier as well, because I would have been it would have caused me a lot less anxious. I would have been a little giving myself a little more grace. Yeah, I bet but so this is kind of fun. Just a little aside. So I've had my kids do it. So they have a kid Colby version. Just kind of fun. And I hope I got a I got a phone call from my daughter. I was actually driving to a Colby event in Toronto, which was kind of a special thing. She was Mom, what's your credit card. Like? Why Well, because my friends here and she's doing a Colby and I'm like, okay, rattle off. Oh, you know, and she would hand it out even in grade three, she would hand it out to her teachers. And because she had she's, she's not the Fact Finder falls for kids, let me put it that way, which is mostly what the school system is. So this totally would know her, you know, and I just had one of my, my eldest daughter, she's not 20 her her friend, dude, who's 21 you know, in that position that we're talking about right now. Like, you need to know your Colby. And then we found him like, Oh, my gosh, that's so cool. You know, because they're all pretty cool. And, you know, it's so useful to know in which direction you need to go in which direction you shouldn't.

Maren Kate 23:44

It's just, it's, that's the kind of, I mean, and then I guess also, what I wonder, too, is I would assume that every different growth periods in your life things change, right? Like when you're 21 versus when you're 30. Then and they probably don't change substantially, you probably don't go from like teaching oriented to completely ever adversity detail. But I would assume like I think about my 21 year old self and my 35 year old self, and just all the experiences and maturing I've had, I'm a different person, but there are still similar threads. So do you retake it every five years every 10 years?

Shannon Waller 24:21

Great question. The answer is no, actually, really. So once you are old enough to do what's called a Kobe, which is an adult Colby, then what you do is, well, that's pretty much solid. And what happens is just the word use is perfect, it's mature. So what happens is you get hopefully, if you've had any positive reinforcement for this, you actually get more settled into your instincts and got it Okay. Now because I am I ever going to be an eight factfinder? No. Inca, yeah, right now. Can I be a smarter three factfinder Sure. You know, your intelligence can change your personal I can shift usually a little bit depending on what profile it is. But I was looking back at my Gallup Strengths Finder, which I took 1518 years ago, I think 2002 and I took a second one because I thought they changed the profile with Strengths Finder. 2.0 they didn't. Anyway, I still stick with my first one to my mind is 100% the most accurate now I'm a little bit although, but I found it. I've just matured into my strengths. Not Yeah, if that makes any sense. Now, there are other profiles that are worth redoing, because you might change you know, disk is one where you can shift a little bit to depending on circumstance, so some of the personality ones can move a smidge. Or depending if there's been a major life event can happen, but kolby yours, how you strive and how you problem solve. You've probably been this way since you were a little foreign and I love that.

Maren Kate 25:53

That makes me I think about one of the earliest not one of my earliest memories, but one of the earliest times I beat myself was a is I remember being a little kid in Texas. And we didn't have dishwashers until I think I was a teenager. And when I got a dishwasher, I will refuse to live in places that don't have dishwashers, I will sacrifice anything for a dishwasher. So I watched a ton of dishes and we hung a lot of clothes out in the line. And I remember one time just like being probably eight, washing my dishes and looking at it and thinking, This is stupid. I'm doing something that is going to get ruined tomorrow morning, and I'm gonna have to do again. And it annoyed me so deeply as an eight year old. And then, of course, I was raised with like a lot of like, guilt from religion. I was like, Oh, I literally thought, well, you're clearly a lazy person, man. That's a bummer. And I thought I was lazy, like solidly assumed I was lazy probably until my mid 20s. And I've worked since I was 15. I've built companies like I work a ton, but I always thought I was like you must be lazy because you don't want to do these repetitive things versus realizing and this is why I started like with some my first one of my first businesses, I started hiring people outsourcing different tasks to different people building teams, because I didn't want to do repetitive tasks or there things I knew I wasn't good at. But I assumed it was because I was lazy and I didn't learn how to do it. Not oh, this isn't my strength. So that is something that ties in you know, even eight year old Maren was all about scalability and delegation, and I just didn't realize it and you turn it into businesses.

Shannon Waller 27:28

I love it. Well, you know, and it's interesting because when people do when they have a drive, right, it's often because something super frustrated them or or inspired them. I would say frustration is the drive between behind a ton of what I've done, because I wanted to get away from something freedom we call it freedom from Strategic Coach first and then you want to really want to get to freedom too. But actually go back to that list I was talking about, I should make sure you finish all the steps follow through is not an I love it. A strength of mine is once To get your list of unique, excellent competent, incompetent, you categorize your activities, and don't take forever to do it and don't overthink it. And the only trick is, if you're having trouble deciding make the activity more specific. So project management usually involves a bunch of things. So break it down so you can better categorize it slow trick. And then you want to put them into themes so unique, excellent, competent and competent, you'll start to see the patterns of things, you know, the things that give you energy versus and that you're good at versus the things that you don't. Another aside, if there's something you really love to do, but you aren't good at it. We call that a hobby. So you may or may not want to invest more time and effort to get good at it. Yeah, it can be a future skill. It's just, you know, you've got to put it where your current skill level is. And then what you delegate to your point is anything that's below we have it on a grid, anything that's not anything that's incompetent or competent. First of all, if you're if you're doing something in combat, you're costing yourself or your company money. Stop now. Oh totally, it's expensive, competent. There's other people who could do it as well or at least or better than you can. So again, that makes sense to delegate. So that's kind of immediately if you're as you're building a team or you're looking to help someone, you're gonna be the team. You're like, what can you not wait to get off your plate? What do you hate doing? You know, and see if that fits in with something that you love doing and are good at, then that's that's where this great teamwork comes in. There's things I love to do that I can tell you, there's people would run away from this, reading one of them and other things. I'm like, I can't believe you did that. That's incredible. Because I know even though I have the intelligence to appreciate it zero way I would ever actually do it successfully. And it allows us to appreciate people whose talents are very different than ours and see that need for you know, working together. And then eventually you most people hang out in excellent and unique and the more you can shift towards unique, the more fulfilled you're going to be as a human being also probably, the bigger the contribution you're going to And probably the more money you're gonna make, because it's rare national.

Maren Kate 30:04

Yeah. And also you think about like in in today's job market you know with with us going from a boom economy to constricted one and a lot of people looking for roles and then a specifically with like some of the people we're talking to who are looking to shift to remote work. It's like you really need to figure out how to stand out and, and it's super, as an employer myself when I see someone who can position themselves in a way that's going to help me achieve what I need. Like, that's really powerful. So knowing this stuff, so in a lot of ways, this is like one of I mean, it really is one of the best investments you can make in your career. And like what is all of this costs together? I'm like Colby test Clifton strengths unique ability. How much are we looking at?

Shannon Waller 30:52

If you have Colby, yeah Colby Colby is yeah. 55 I think strengthsfinder the whole Thing 100 in and then you could like knowledge product Did you want 150 bucks would would. It's some of the best career in life planning you could ever do. And I love what you just said about, you know, Visa, here's what here's how I can contribute. Or if someone's I actually, I don't know how when I was in my early 20s, someone asked me to be kind of administrative receptionist role, and I was I was desperate for a job. This was my first job out of university. I turned it down. Cuz I don't know where I had the body parts to do that. But I actually knew I was wrong fit for the role. That is brilliant. The worst job I've ever had.

Maren Kate 31:40

Oh, sorry, job I ever had was a was a secretary and it was when I was 17. And I've had some bad jobs like I've worked at some rough bars. I've been a VIP hostess at like, a nightclub that I had to wear spike heels and I was working from like 10pm to 5am My feet hurt so bad. I would cry but The worst job I ever had hands down was in an air conditioning office as a secretary. And I literally remember calling my mom and be like, I've never been so unhappy in my life. And I didn't understand what it was. But that's exactly what you said. It's because the skill sets what drives me is just so different. It's amazing that more people, it's amazing that more people don't do this. It's amazing. But it's like a knowledge thing. Like I barely knew about this stuff until a few years ago.

Shannon Waller 32:27

Well, and that's just it. I mean, if I would love I mean, Kathy Colby is doing her best to get into school systems. And, and it's important that teachers know it, and parents know it first, actually, because then you'll support the development of that with your children. And so I feel so incredibly lucky. So my kids are 20 and 17. Right now, both girls, and I'm so so grateful that I know but coping ability and raising my kids, you know that this just a profound thing. So I've always reinforced your strengths. I've always told them, you know, reading, writing, arithmetic and retrieval, you know, for hours now, not negotiable, we still need to make sure those get handled. But there are some minimum standards and strengths. The best book by the way to read is strengths based leadership, it has the best overall description I think of strengths if you're some if your reader and you want to learn more about it. And with that, you get the profile and leadership report too. So great, great investment. And if they talk about you know, you want to, there are some things that what you need to have minimum standard, just to get by, there's target that can afford to fail it certain things. Other things don't invest another second, another Penny, it's not worth.

Maren Kate 33:36

I mean, some of the things that we're seeing in 2020 is remote fluency, being able to operate in a, you know, in a remote environment, being able to figure out how to do your zoom or, I mean, honestly, but the interesting thing is it's no technology that so and I tell people this all the time, it's not a technology you need to learn. Instead, you need to cultivate the ability to learn and adapt that The number one thing because slack may be replaced by something else Microsoft may be replaced like down the line there's always going to be a new tool there's gonna be more and more of them, but being able to learn and pick up those tools, I think in the next 20 years people that can't do that will or choose not to, I think everyone can learn if they want to sans you know, like serious disabilities or dementia or something. But that ability to learn and that ability to pick up that new technology is so vital in today's world.

Shannon Waller 34:34

I could not agree more and I think actually this you know, our current situation everyone a lot of people being forced to be remote and promote fluency What a great term to increase the remote fluency. I know I've had to do mine, you've got to be flexible. You've got to be apple in your in your brain has to work that way and you have to be not resistant to it. But I do see it will definitely cut some people out of the marketplace you cannot or are unable to adapt for whatever reason. And there's certain also a certain age group of people, I think that might just tap out, right? Because like this, like, it's one too many. And they have this dis this pace of change happening until the last five, 810 years. And so if you look at their lifespan, it's been this much of it, you know, and so they might, it definitely, I think will exclude others, but digital natives, my kids, you know, they're like, what's the big deal? They're learning a new, a new app, a new software, a new CRM, a new email system, new programming language every other week. So for them, this is like, this is normal. Yeah. So it's really important that we make it normal. I think that's a great point.

Maren Kate 35:42

Yeah. And just the ability to learn is kind of the the number one thing. It's Yeah, this is so great. So pretty much the net net is you spent $150 which we save up for so much more and spend more money I mean, you think about it, our average careers 90,000 waking hours. In a person's life, so is it worth it? This is why I mean, this is one of the reasons we started this podcast. It's one of the reasons we started indie was about helping professionals think through, like their career. And instead of taking it as when you need a job kind of being reactive and pinging people and accepting whatever you can get, or focusing on money, when in reality, you care more about flexibility. I mean, my whole thing is, yeah, how can we how can we help people, the this generation, the next generation, actually think of their career put the same amount of time and effort we put in our careers, you know, as somebody puts in their Fantasy Football League or anything, like there's so many things that we put time and energy on, we quantify all these things through apps, like call them, you know, where we're understanding our fertility. If you're a woman, we're putting all this stuff in, we're spending money, but then when it comes to our actual career when it comes to what makes us all The money, we're like, man, and I think it's just, it's just a shift in thinking. And I think to be competitive in a global world, the one that goes more remote because you're not going to be just competing with people from, you know, Boise you're gonna be competing with the globe. And and and I love unique ability to what you said because it means that it's not always competition, it's everyone there's a great job and role for every person. And there's the right role for the right person for every role. It just that person has to actually want it like you can't, you can't be actually lazy you actually have to, to grow and work and take the time.

Shannon Waller 37:38

Could not agree more. And I think you know, we are living in an increasingly technological world. So you need to be differentiated. If you're doing routine tasks that someone can write a program for. You're going to be Oh, yeah, so well, right. So it is really, really important. Actually. You need to be able to use to be a nice to do and by the way, you know when people were working in factories, You could bet you didn't matter, we are living in a really interesting point in time, you know, with not just the pandemic that we're recording this in. But in terms of the pace of technology, you know, remote, remote fluency, all of those things were increasingly what what makes us uniquely human, what makes you unique? What is unique about you, what is your unique contribution? And we're going to need to be able to give, we're going to ask us, how are you going to make a difference here? And you're going to want to be able to come up with an answer, not go visit, which is what I would have done in my early 20s. And so Mike, if you're looking for this, I'm your person. And if you're not, I'm not, you know, I would be super clear about that even clearer than I was, I'm not sure how I got that clear, most early 20s. But it's, you know, you want to be able to say this is what I can contribute. This is what I'm known for. This is my history to prove it. And you and and be synced about that. Be clear, be confident in who you are and what your contribution is. The other thing I would say is be really clear on who your audience is. So, yes, so yeah, you were asking about profiles change, not least, Colby doesn't other things might be interesting, his unique ability change, it doesn't change. Like, I'm not going to go to being a great person on spreadsheets from what I do now, however, who my audience is, has changed. So it tends to get narrowed and more refined, and you're going to be more particular about with whom you want to work or the kind of people you want to work for all of those things. So I think it's really critical. Like, that's the other part of unique ability. It's not just what you're doing, it's with him, and for whom and I think that's a really important dynamic for people to, to pay attention to. So if you're passionate about, you know, improving healthcare, go to work with companies doing that, or if you're passionate about human development, don't do that. If you're passionate about remote work, then focus on that, you know, but who do you care about is such an important part that I think very few people focus on it. They're just looking for how they fit themselves into Can they make themselves around peg to go into a round hole? And that's really not how it works anymore. You know you're looking for where's that where's that fit but not not contorting yourself to be somebody that you're not actually you being more uniquely you has a much bigger advantage than you try to fit into something else.

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