No, I’m not asking if you prefer Sriracha vs. Frank’s Red Hot or some mango chutney fusion hailing all the way from Chennai. What is the one thing that you are known for? The thing that you do better than anyone else in the world?
If I’m guessing, your shoulders are probably up around your ear lobes at this point. Not many people know what their secret sauce is, but it’s kind of an essential ingredient to work out if you want to become wildly successful.
In Deepak Chopra’s book, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” the 7th law is The Law of Dharma. The gist of this law states that the universe can be likened to one giant jigsaw puzzle. We are all just one piece of the whole, each with our own set of tongues and grooves. All of us have been given one unique gift that nobody else has that allows us to fit into the larger puzzle. There may be pieces that look very similar – as many challenging jigsaw puzzles include, but no two pieces are exactly alike, and the universe needs us all to play our parts. Your unique talent is your secret sauce. And when you find it, achieving success is undeniable. Yet despite much time allotted for navel-gazing and herbally enhanced sessions by a firepit listening to Jon Lajoie, many people struggle to know their role in the universe.
I often wonder why. If our unique talents are all so essential to the running of the universe, then why don’t we all arrive on the earth with a tag that says…Hey Julie…your job is to blah, blah blah? But no. That’s not how it works, is it? Most of us spend a good portion of our lives trying to work it out. And we have roughly 80 or so years to do it in. Hmmm… piece of Red Velvet.
But would you believe that our talent is often sitting right under our nose, and we are utterly oblivious to it? It’s kind of like that crazy cat lady who lives down your street who has 25 cats. And she can’t smell the undeniable stench because she’s become nose blind. Often, our talents are hidden from us because we don’t see them as talents. We take them for granted.
So what is your secret sauce?
If you don’t know, no sweat, you are in good company. Let me give you some ideas to try to help sleuth them out.
Ask yourself, what do people typically come to you for advice on
Think about what questions you get over and over from your friends and family? What are you the go-to gal for amongst your circle of friends? This is an excellent place to start. It doesn’t always work, though. For example, I am the go-to person in my home and within my friends’ circle for tech support. I can almost hear the IT team at my office doubling over in laughter should they read this. But they won’t — so I’m good.
The point is, sure, I get asked a lot of IT questions, yet I would not say I am an IT expert. Wait. 🤔 Maybe I’m the IT expert for the average Joe. Anyway..not the point. But just think, are you the person your friends all go-to for fashion tips? Book reviews? Help with calculus, perhaps? These questions could all potentially point to your hidden talents.
Phone a friend
Not really “phone.” I mean, nobody uses an actual telephone today (I lament to my husband who refuses to text); I can’t help but reference a popular game show of the first decade of this millennium.
So yeah, ask ten friends. This may sound creepy, but because we are nose blind to our talents, sometimes you need a good friend to step in and tell you the truth.
I got this advice from Marie Forleo when I did her online B-School course a few years ago. I cringed as I hit send on my ten emails to close friends fishing for compliments…” Hey, what am I good at?” Shockingly, nobody laughed at me — at least not to my face. I got a lot of really good feedback. I heard stuff I would never have thought about myself. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience. If you want a template on how to draft that uncomfortable email, so you don’t sound pathetic, send me a DM on either Facebook or Instagram @asktravellingd, and I’ll share the email I sent out.
And actually, sometimes it’s best not to send to just your good friends. They may be too close to you, and the smell of cat spray has rubbed off on them too. Consider sending it out to people who know you from all facets of your life.
I promise you…while potentially a highly awkward task, the results will pleasantly surprise you.
If you had all the money in the world and didn’t have to work, how would you spend your day?
Like really, what would you do? You might think …” ah, I’d watch endless hours of Netflix and eat Cheez-Its 24/7,” but having come off nine months of quarantine, most of us would agree that Netflix can get as boring AF and the Cheez-It’s…meh, not nearly as delish as they were back in March.
You need to do a bit of deep thinking and decide what lights you up? Don’t worry if it may sound ridiculous to you off the cuff. I have a long list. And rolling around in a bin of puppies would be high on that list. My son might opt for non-stop hours of undisturbed gaming in front of the big screen. Can someone make a living that way, though? Just ask Johan Sundstein. By the age of 26, Sundstein has raked in almost seven million dollars in tournament prize money thanks to his dexterity and quick thinking.
We are living in the most advantageous epoch in history — Almost nothing is off-limits. Spend some time brainstorming ideas. If something pops into your mind – write it down. You can stress test them later.
I met this woman online last week, who makes six figures teaching people how to make candy apples. Candy effin’ apples. Can you believe it? My jaw dropped. The point is, anything is possible, so have a good think about what really lights you up — and do that. Even if maybe that thing isn’t your secret sauce at the moment because you haven’t pursued it, what’s stopping you from going after it now? If making candy apples brings you so much joy, but you haven’t mastered the craft yet – learn it. Google that shit and then practise.
The whole 10,000 hours rule, I think, is vastly exaggerated for impact. Sure, say you want to be the best in the pool at the 2036 Olympics; you might want to dive in right now. But if you just want to make a decent living selling candy apples – GTS it, roll up your sleeves and get to work. You’ll make it happen.
What one thing could you talk about for days without getting bored?
This is a critical question. While you might love candy apples, you still need to ask yourself, would you still love candy apples if that was the only thing you did for the next three years? Could you write 50 blog articles on candy apples or peripheral paraphernalia about candy apples without jabbing the sticks of said candy apples into your eyeballs? That is the question.
One of the best books I ever read on building a business was “Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuk. After consuming it twice from cover to cover, that book changed my career trajectory. In it, Gary says, a good test to know if you really are passionate about a specific topic is to ask yourself…” Could I write a minimum of fifty blog articles on this topic?” If the answer is “Hell No,” then maybe you should keep looking.
Don’t get hung up on, “Well, somebody else is already doing that”
As I said before, like puzzle pieces that look alike, many of us have similar passions. My passion has always been travel and helping others succeed in selling travel. But I’m not the only travel sales coach in the world. Even though Frank’s Hot Wing sauce is spicy and yummy, apparently, so is Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce. But they are different. Both have their spicy personalities, and the same could be said for you and anyone on the same path as you. There is nobody else in this world just like you – my little snowflake.
Don’t worry about trying to uncover a rare idea that nobody has thought of yet. At this point in the universe, there is no such thing as original thought. Just the same ideas refashioned and repolished to look a little different. Like a good pair of bell-bottom jeans, everything eventually comes back around.
How will you know when you’ve finally found it?
You’ll know you’ve found your thing when you come up for air, only to realize that hours have passed, and it feels timeless. Some people refer to this as being in “flow.” It’s reaching for that elusive puzzle piece. Turn it one way, then the other. And then almost effortlessly, it finds its shape and locks into place, tongue to groove, groove to tongue — home, at last. That’s when you know you’ve found your secret sauce.
We are at a time in history where so many people are having to pivot — especially in the travel industry. Maybe you are one of the many casualties, like me, who lost their job as a result of COVID-19. This time is a gift to you to go out and find your passion and do what lights you up. Don’t spend another moment of your life in a job that doesn’t bring you joy and doesn’t allow you to be that puzzle piece you are meant to be.
And if it’s travel, the game is not over for you. But change the rules. You don’t have to work for someone else in order to build a successful travel career. Allow me to help you be your own boss, work your own hours, do your own thing. My travel marketing courses will be ready soon. Click HERE even if you are just at the 🤔 stage.
If you haven’t signed up for my weekly dose of travel humour, wrapped up in an email format, that doesn’t look like an English Lit essay — what the heck are you waiting for? Join the tribe – below. You can always unsubscribe – but you won’t. I’ve been told that my emails don’t suck, and if that isn’t a vote of confidence, I don’t know what is.