Discovering My WOW Factor
Do you have a skill or unique knowledge that you build into your business without knowing it, or capitalize on it to connect with your audience?
I made the jump in 2015 out of the corporate world for what was supposed to be a short-term gig to revitalize and reconnect with myself. What was initially seen as a temporary solution became an unintentional career change. After time away, I no longer saw myself driving towards achieving someone else’s goals; I wanted to drive towards my own goals.
My problem? I had not intended on becoming an entrepreneur (to be honest, it was a career I had vowed not to enter again after a brief stint as a quality consultant during a maternity leave). I was so used to others directing my projects, actions and goals that I floundered initially when I was left to myself to think up and take action on all of this.
I had not mapped out my business plan very well. Being a pretty independent woman, I had a misconception that I had to build a business by myself. Although I met amazing people, stretched my creativity, and learned some valuable lessons, I finally had to admit that I had it all wrong. I had lost confidence in my ability to provide for my family or feel fulfilled with my work. I finally came to the conclusion that I needed help.
In my corporate life, I was confident in what I could do and who I was. As an entrepreneur … well, I realized that I was missing that element, which is key to growing a business. So I sought out the guidance of other entrepreneurs that I knew who were successful for help. I received great advice, direction and most of all, support. What a difference.
One of the questions asked of me by a peer really got me thinking and, in my opinion, has made the biggest difference in my results.
What is my WOW Factor?
The question was innocent but it stung. I was embarrassed to admit that I had no idea. As a corporate leader, I knew what my WOW factor was, but did those capabilities and characteristics transfer into my new entrepreneurial life? I was not sure.
This realization was both overwhelming and relieving. Perhaps it could be a missing piece of the puzzle that would help me to change how I perceived myself, and how others perceived me!
So I emailed peers, friends and clients asking them a series of questions that all focused on them helping me to identify my WOW Factor:
- How I achieved a difficult result,
- How they perceived me as a leader,
- How I can laugh at myself or entertain others that is authentic to me,
- How I connect with people.
I put myself into a very vulnerable position but I was committed to growing my business and growing myself as an entrepreneur. I had some ideas, but I wanted to make sure I was not missing anything.
When the feedback came rolling in, it was humbling. I realized that actions and behaviors that I did not take notice of meant so much to others. What surprised me most was that many of my corporate WOW Factors showed up in the feedback. I became aware that I had been focused on WHAT I was doing to gain clients and provide them with quality service, but it came down to HOW I was behaving and connecting with others that stood out to people.
This realization that my corporate and entrepreneurial lives were not so separate and distinct was a major pivot point for me.
Somehow I had created the mindset that as an entrepreneur, I had to carve out a whole new facet of who I was. That there was some imaginary line in the sand that disconnected my knowledge and skillset as to how I made an impact in the corporate world and how I could make an even bigger impact as an entrepreneur.
Discovering my WOW Factor has allowed me to hone in on HOW I can best connect with and serve others. I now spend less time focusing on WHAT I need to do and put my intentions on providing a WOW-able experience for others.
I don’t know how that mindset or line came to exist. And honestly, I am not putting energy into reflecting on it. It does not matter now. What matters is that once I realized it, I erased both of them so fast I WOW’d myself.
The result? I realized that although I made the jump from one career to another, who I was and how I led and communicated with others did not change with my career title. Whether striving towards someone else’s goals or my own, my skills and behaviours are all the same. The difference? I am grateful now to continue to WOW others, but doing it while driving towards only my goals.
Danielle is an Author and Women’s Leadership Catalyst. You can learn more about her at www.daniellejoworski.com.