What is the Result of Applied Leverage?
This is part 2 of my series looking at the concept of leverage in business, marketing and connections. Read part 1 here if you’ve missed it!
Whether in business, your career, relationships or your life, you will never achieve anything of significance on your own. You need other people, their knowledge, skills, passion, connections and ideas.
The very nature of success is such that it doesn’t happen in isolation. If you think all self-made successful people or businesses got to where they are without using leverage, look again. And if you think they are just ‘lucky’ and that everything goes their way all the time, you’re finished before you start.
Success leaves clues
Successful people didn’t get to where they are without a network, and they’re certainly not ‘lucky’. Instead they continuously put themselves in the best situations to meet the right people or find an opportunity.
They are active. They are looking for things. They are not tainted by negative news that plagues us everyday, so they don’t view the world as fundamentally bad or that life is a struggle.
Most successful people will attribute their success to only a few actions or events that made the difference.
However they are likely being modest.
They’re glossing over the countless other failures and rejections. The times they’ve put themselves out there and been shot down. They don’t mention the endless dull events or energy sapping people they’ve had to endure.
‘Luck’ can find us quicker
Why is this so important?
It’s because it’s impossible to tell ahead of time which events, actions or people will lead to success.
So having an open mind about possibility and seeing more opportunity than risk tends to put you in places where ‘luck’ can find you. That’s why it feels like any of our successes, no matter how small, can feel like we stumbled into them, but in reality it was us that created the opportunity for luck to find us.
So how can you apply this to creating leverage?
Create your own luck by taking massive action.
We all need a bit of ‘lady luck’ but we can’t wait around for her to find us. Light yourself on fire and make sure she can’t miss you!
So what can we all use to gain leverage?
First leverage your strengths
Everyone has a strength. Even if you don’t think you do. I’m here to tell you that you have far more than one and usually more than you give yourself credit for. It’s been said many times before, we are much better at seeing strengths in others than ourselves.
Unfortunately we tend to value ourselves based on what we do as a ‘job’. Or what qualifications we have. Or what we’re paid for.
So start asking yourself the basic question:
What strengths do I have that others find valuable?
This is usually where most of us stop. We don’t know how to answer it, or we undervalue what we do. So go a little deeper and ask questions like:
- What do others always ask me for advice about?
- What do I enjoy so much that time will fly by?
- Can I create things that make others smile?
- Why do people seem to open up to me?
- What would I do for free others would ask for money to do?
If you’re still stuck, ask someone close to you that you trust these questions. You’ll be surprised by the answers.
Once you have identified some of your strengths, decide which of them have the highest perceived value to others. Then work out how you can translate that strength into a tangible skill, service or result for others.
You can then offer this to someone you want to connect with.
Another thing you can leverage is your contacts.
You don’t always need the strengths or specific skills that someone else is looking for.
If you can identify what they need, and connect them to someone who does, you put yourself in the middle of a lot of success without necessarily being the expert. (hint, that’s a strength…).
Making introductions and connections is a practice that has been going on for thousands of years. Nations are built on this so it’s not likely to stop being valuable any time soon.
So apply leverage by simply bringing people together and making introductions that can benefit both sides.
That only benefits you in the long run.
Be the architect
Having personal knowledge of how resources can be put together, in a unique or systematic way is another way to create leverage.
This can include tools, ideas, processes or people just to name a few. Here you’re leveraging your experience of getting a result.
In business you need to realise that people buy results.
Think about any new invention or service that has changed the way the world. Examples could include the car, internet banking, iPads or television.
All the component parts or ‘solutions’ of each of these existed before, but they had never been put together in a particular sequence or system that was unique that offered an improvement on existing solutions.
It took someone like Henry Ford or Steve Jobs to really look at the problems, challenges or wants people had at the time.
They then put them together in a unique way. By leveraging the incremental benefits within each component they created a single product that delivered benefits exponentially greater than the sum of their parts.
Did they know what would happen when they started? Did they know they were about to invent the car or an iPad?
I don’t think so, at least not with total certainty of what the final outcome would be.
Instead they focused on identifying a problem and designed a leveraged process with the sole aim of getting people a better result than they could on their own.
If you can develop this ability then opportunities will open up for you. You’ll come up with and be presented with great ideas, and the best quality people will want to work with you.
The market with unlimited demand
Remember, whether you’re just starting out or you’re well established, you will always need access to things you don’t currently have. So you’ll want a short cut to get it. That’s the same for everyone on the planet.
It’s the job of your business, your products or the service you offer to be that short cut.
If you were to make it your life’s focus to come up with ways to make resources such as people, products, relationships or money interact in a way to create more value than they do on their own, you’ll never be short of people to work with.
You’ll also never be bored!
A metaphor for life
Don’t think the concept of leverage applies only to business and marketing.
It applies to your whole life.
Apply it to personal and romantic relationships and you’ll be surrounded by those that deeply care about you beyond just superficial pleasantries.
Help people that value your strengths more than your weaknesses.
Become curious about others, their life and their work, and integrate their unique strengths into your life, knowledge and network.
This is what I am striving for. This is how I now try to live my life.
I didn’t always think this way and I don’t always get it right.
But this small shift in outlook has exponentially changed the joy I get from each day.
Isn’t that what we all want?
Who knows, if you apply it you may even change the world.