Don’t Niche Away Your Gifts
There’s a lot of talk in business about finding your niche. Zeroing in on the one or two things you do better than anyone. While having a niche is important, don’t forget to tap into your broader skills and life experience. The challenge with just focusing on your niche is people tend to niche away their gifts that they don’t think fit.
I’ve had a pretty diverse career as a reporter, public relations professional, educator, speaker, advocate and more. Over the years I’ve worn many hats including instructor, manager, consultant, volunteer and mom.
Here’s the thing, with my diverse experience I have more than one niche. I have many. Why? Because, like you, I’m a complex human being with lived and professional experience that matters. While I may specialize in some niche markets, I don’t niche my experience.
When I’m working with clients, I often talk about my X-factor – what makes me different. I SHIFT people, teams, organizations and cultures to go from overwhelmed to clear and activated.
The H in SHIFT stands for holistic. I take an all-inclusive approach to the work I do, tapping into my broad experience while being helpful and in-service.
The key here is tapping into this range of experience even when working in my niche.
Embrace your gifts
Over the years I’ve expanded the work I do based on my passions, which continue to evolve. My work as a journalist transitioned to public relations which led me to post-secondary teaching that then evolved to consulting and coaching. Along the way I had children and became passionate about advocacy as I recognized I needed to be their voice as we navigated the challenging health care and education systems.
Like many entrepreneurs, my career has zig zagged versus climbing up a straight ladder. Some of this zigging – like raising a child with autism – has resulted in my greatest growth.
The knowledge I’ve gained along the way is part of the gifts I bring to the work I do with the people I coach and organizations I support.
Break down the walls
Too often I see people separating their lived experience from their professional experience. They’ve built a wall between to the two aspects of their lives. Only by breaking down this wall, and allowing the two areas to merge, are you able to become a whole and powerful person.
In my advocacy work, I provide workshops and coaching to help people share their stories, advocate for themselves or others, and create positive shifts in the world around them.
Where I stand out from the crowd is the fact that I bring together my professional and person experience. This is where the magic happens.
As a public relations professional, I know how to share my story through written and spoken word. While my work background makes me a strong communicator, my true strength as a speaker, coach and advocate comes from my lived experience. By sharing my own stories, I’m able to make a personal connection.
Although there are some slight shifts being made, many people working in corporate environments continue to build walls between the two halves of them. This wall prevents their true gifts from shining through, limiting the impact they can have on the organization.
When we talk about work-life balance, part of the struggle is related to this artificial wall as it prevents you from being in true balance.
It took me many years (and a few coaches) to break down my own wall, embracing versus hiding my gifts. Part of this journey included quitting a job that didn’t serve me, moving across the country and recognizing it’s okay to work in many niches while drawing upon my broad experience.
In realizing I didn’t need to segment my professional and personal lives, and the experience I’ve gained from each, I was able to attract clients who are in alignment with my values. I was able to get clear on my mission – making people feel cared for and inspired – and deliver it consistently.
Most importantly, I have found true fulfillment in the work I do.
In showing up wholly, my clients not only hire me for who I am but also get the best of me in our work together.
I encourage you to reflect on how you are showing up? Have you embraced your gifts or do you have a wall between your professional and personal life? How can you tap into your broad experience, taking an all-inclusive approach to the work you do?