The Potluck

potlucksof business
Have you ever been to a potluck picnic?
Mom would be working on making it the very best batch of potato salad, ever, for days. As she would be preparing it, you could hear her brag about it and also mention Aunt Suzie’s baked beans, Aunt Betty’s apple pie, and how delicious so and so’s chicken was last year?
You get ready to leave and she has you hold the bowl on your lap for 20 miles or so until you reach the same park that you have seen every year. (that is worse when you are hauling the baked beans, remember that? lol)
All of the food is placed on a huge table that looks like it is about 50 feet long. People mingle, laugh, and have an amazing time. Meanwhile, you are sitting there just staring at the food, waiting to be able to dive in. Finally, the tin foil is taken off of all of the dishes and a line forms to get the goods. Now, I am incredibly hungry!
The meet-up is a big success. Kids were playing and laughing, Uncle Bob was telling his jokes, and everyone was full of great food. Everything was just wonderful and the family has a strengthened bond (and a few leftovers) to hold them over until the next gathering.
Do you remember these times? I do.
You are probably sitting there wondering what in the world a potluck picnic has to do with business. Actually. more than you think. You see, the get together was a success because each person that hauled a dish to the event brought their strengths to the table. Aunt Betty took her amazing apple pie because that is what she was best at. (I don’t have an Aunt Betty but it sounds good with apple pie).
What if everyone went to a potluck dinner with the same dish? You would have a fifty foot table full of potato salad. Sure, they would all be a bit different but surely, not a potluck. Right?
Everyone has a gift. No two people are created exactly alike. Life becomes a whole lot simpler and a bit more exciting when you realize that. Let’s roll this over to the business world for a second.
One of my biggest pitfalls recently has been me looking around and comparing my creative work to others. I would get so frustrated because just because one person can do one aspect of design better than I can, I felt like a flop. I forgot about the potluck dinners.
What is the strength of one person is not necessarily the same strength that I have. I really had to sit and think (and write) about this. In fact, it kept me up most of the night. That is when I gave myself the analogy of the old potluck picnics.
You may be better at using the telephone than someone on your team, exchange your expertise by building his/her skill that you are best at for some help in their area of whatever they are best at. It’s old fashioned bartering and it works. It is called teamwork.
So yes, business is like a potluck. We all need to bring our strengths to the table and leave our weaknesses to those who are masters at what we are not. If we realize this, then we can put down the thoughts of not being “good enough” and do our best at what we do best.
Your turn: With this thought, grab a piece of paper and write down your strengths and in comments, tell us what you are planning on bringing to the table.

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