Picking The Right Sweet-Spot Will Make You Happy Faster


One of the toughest decisions we business owners make is picking the right sweet-spot. What EXACTLY do you do best, how and for whom?

Choosing a specialty, a niche, a sweet-spot, feels like you’re cutting off your options and failure could well be the quickest outcome. It’s scary.

But picking the right focus will make you happy, faster.

Happy as in you’re serving the audience that matters to you, doing work that you’re deeply good at and passionate about and making an excellent living.

And that especially means not paying attention to what you think you SHOULD do, but what is right for you.

I couldn’t help but think about this while watching Superbowl LIII. There was Wade Phillips, the 71-year old defensive coordinator for the LA Rams, moving along the sideline, shouting encouragement to his players.

He looked like he was having the time of his life (until the Rams lost, but most will argue it wasn’t due to Wade’s coaching).

If you’re not big on football, here’s the deal. The defensive coordinator (like its counterpart on the offense) is a stepping stone to the far more lucrative and visible head coach job.

You work yourself up the ladder, usually for a number of different teams, until you prove yourself enough that a beleaguered owner is willing to take a chance on you for their head coaching job.

What’s instructive about Wade’s story is that he followed the usual path for most of his career, until he made a clear pivot.

A defensive coordinator under his father, he had his first interim head coach role in New Orleans and eventually won a “permanent” gig in Denver.

That didn’t go so well, so he packed off to Buffalo as a defensive coordinator again, working himself back up to head coach. After a controversial decision (translation: he lost a game others thought he should win), off he went to a series of defensive coordinator roles in other markets, some turning into short stints as head coach.

Finally, in 2017 he wound up with the Rams, working as defensive coordinator under Sean McVay (at 33, the youngest ever coach of a Super Bowl team). Wade helped bring a young, transitional team all the way to the Super Bowl.

And yet some will look at Wade’s career and claim he failed—his head coaching gigs never seemed to produce much in the way of winning seasons and certainly the media and fans ripped at him consistently.

But that’s not how I see it—instead, I appreciate the genius of his ability as a defensive coordinator. Having watched him painfully execute his duties as head coach of Dallas, experiencing THIS Wade is mesmerizing. He appears lighter, freer, happier than he ever has before.

The man is living a professional life that suits him and his talents AND he can pass on his wisdom to a whole new generation of players.

Letting go of the “top job” mentality (i.e. what the world says he SHOULD want) allowed him to dig into his true genius and contribute and influence on a level others only dream of.

The lesson for the rest of us is simply this: don’t listen to what convention says SHOULD be your sweet-spot. Let your personal genius guide you to the best marketplace fit for your talents and passions.

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