VCU Center for Corporate Education

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One of the primary ways you know you’re in the process of discovering your best self is if you begin to develop competence. Competence serves as a litmus test indicating you are well on the way to finding your sweet spot. If you want to have influence on the people around you, then you need to find your own place of competence. By its very nature, competence requires working in an area of natural talent and ability. It’s critical for you to discover the specific kinds of work you are designed to excel at as a basic prerequisite to becoming competent. You’ll never develop competence trying to be a square peg in a round hole.


There is a second attribute which determines who has the most positive impact in the workplace. If you’re going to win the right to be a friend, to influence others, and succeed at work, you’ll need to be perceived as a person who is compassionate. This doesn’t mean you need to be soft or weak, but it does require a willingness to be considerate of others. Nothing reveals more about your character than how you treat people, particularly those people who are peers or subordinates.


As team members in any organizational setting, we need each other for success. Each member should desire to continue to grow in one’s own area of excellence, while supporting and encouraging other associates as they make their contributions to our overall achievement. When it comes time to considering people for promotion, management will examine whether or not you’re able to make friends and create allies. Even though it may not be directly related to your particular responsibilities, your willingness to encourage others to excel will have a positive influence on your ability to be promoted in your organization.

Excerpt from Sweet Spot: Finding Your Career at Any Age, Adapted from pages 46-48

Co-authored by Bruce Dreisbach and Katybeth Lee. (Buy the book).

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