While it could be argued that every business is influenced and informed by our personal experiences, a great deal of opportunity goes unused when we fail to see the potential of putting that experience to work.
Personal experience lends itself to all sorts of enterprises. Here are some things to keep in mind to discover those hidden opportunities.
° Value your own experience. Very often the things that are easy and effortless for us are overlooked if we assume thata what we can do everyone can do.
That’s almost never true. Your special set of talents, skills and life experiences are a one-of-a-kind package.
Writer Carolyn See says, “I hope I’m wrong, but I imagine about 90 percent of the human race is snoozing along, just going through the motions.” Staying awake for the journey is important if we are to find gold in our lives.
° Find a better way. Doris Drucker, the wife of management guru Peter Drucker, found a new opportunity herself this way. She writes, “For years my role as the wife of a professional speaker was to sit in the last row of an auditorium and shout, ‘Louder!’ whenever my husband’s voice dropped. I decided that there had to be a better feedback device and if there wasn’t I was going to invent one. Then I decided, at the age of 80, that I would start a business and sell it.”
Solving a common problem or simply finding a more effective way of doing something has been the start of many a successful business.
° Tell your story. Benjamin Franklin said we should write something worth reading of live something worth writing. Personal experiences can be the basis for both autobiography and how-to books.
Workshops, seminars and consulting are other ways of making your story pay. You need to live it first, of course.
° Pay it forward. Several years ago, Kevin Spacey was in a movie with that title. Apparently the message of passing along our good to others took root.
Spacey started a Web site called Triggerstreet to create opportunities for the next generation of screenwriters. Spacey said he realized that his considerable success was the result of others believing in him before he believed in himself. Now he wants to pass that gift along.
Your experience could be utilized through teaching or mentoring those coming along behind you.
When it’s time to plan a new profit center, take a fresh look at your own life. What do you have to share that could make other people’s lives richer, happier, healthier or smoother in some way?
You may be sitting on a gold mind, you know. As Jack Lessinger reminds us, “Build something, help something, save something. The possibilities are endless.