I came across a very cool idea in Kevin Kelly's chapter in the End Malaria book. Kevin Kelly is the founder of Wired Magazine, and End Malaria is another awesome publication from Seth Godin's Domino Project.
Kevin's chapter is about the stories that he ended up writing while he was the editor of Wired. Stories he'd try to get other people to write, but for one reason or another, they couldn't. Stories that, as it turned out, only he could write.
He said "work at its smartest means doing work that no one else can do." Very cool.
At its most basic this means don't do work that other people around you can do better. It is very easy to find someone who can do bookkeeping better than you – you shouldn’t be doing the bookkeeping.
At a higher level it means doing the work no one else in your practice can do. We say that your job is to think, sell and deliver. Sub white belt you do everything. However from white belt to blue belt you build your team so all you do is think, sell and deliver. This is working smart - doing the work that only you can you.
The ultimate conclusion of this idea is doing work that no one else on the planet can do … or at least do as well.
Pretty daunting concept. What can I do that no one else on the planet can do? It's very easy to conclude that there's nothing that I can do that someone else couldn't do better. But it's worth trying to find out if there is something, and putting as much of yourself as possible into that.
Within Thought Leaders the methodology and intellectual property that Matt Church put together for growing a million dollar practice is way better than what I could have come up with. I think that piece is something that only he could have done. However creating some of the structures and processes is work that no one else could have done.
Work that no one else could do doesn't mean work that no one else has the ability to do. Of course there are lots of people who if they were in my place could have created this stuff. But actually I was the only person in the world with the skills, knowledge, information, resources, location and relationships to be able to do that work.
The ultimate positioning for a thought leader is being recognized for doing work (or thinking) that no-one else could do.
What work have you done that no one else on the planet could have done? And what work like that do you want to do?