Finding Our Sweet Spot — The Cure for the Common Life

National Virtual Tour Company
Can you really be ANYTHING you want to be if you try hard enough?  Probably not...
When we are young, well meaning adults tell us that we can be anything we want to be when we grow up.  The truth of the matter is that we are each born with a unique set of gifts and talents.  While we can't be anything we want to be, we CAN be the absolute best at what God created us to be. Many people spend countless hours trying to overcome their weaknesses when a better use of that time would be to figure out what it is that you can do really, really well and focusing your time and efforts on doing those things.
I came to understand this concept fully after reading Max Lucado's book "Cure for the Common Life...Living in Your Sweet Spot".  For the first time, I really began to understand that the uniqueness of my gifts far outweighed the list of my weaknesses when it came to the successes in my life. This was life changing for me as it altered my analysis of career decisions. Lucado says that you can find your "sweet spot" by looking back at your life and answering five questions:
When have you been really successful?
What topics excite you?
What are your optimal working conditions?
How are you best in relationship?
What makes you say YES?


Finding Our Sweet Spot 
Greg and I asked ourselves these questions and the answers to those questions gave us the framework for living the life of our dreams.   The result was Vision Quest Virtual Tours and we haven't looked back yet.
I talked in my earlier blog about the answer to the question of when have we been really successful and what we are passionate about.  Though our career experiences have been diverse, there were definite themes as we look back at the circumstances surrounding our successes.  
What Topics Excite You?
The second question can be answered by a counter question...What topics bore you to death or fill you with dread?  For me, the answer is that technical details cause my brain to screech to a halt.  I am a big picture person, I like talking about how things work much more than I like figuring out how they work.  When we first started the virtual tour business, Greg was working a temporary job for the Census Bureau and I was home tasked with figuring out how to implement the systems.  Our house has never been cleaner because I would find ANYTHING to do rather than sit down and research how to make this business work technically.  He would come home from work exhausted and in the hour before bed, learn more about the system than I had in the day.
Fast forward a year and he was laid off and I was working.  By then he had a thorough understanding of how the technology works.  The task at hand was that we needed to begin marketing to our end users and driving business and earning money.  I would come home at the end of the day and Greg would tell me about the new systems he had set up and the new discoveries he had made about how to shoot better virtual tours.  What was conspicuously absent was how many new clients we had.  He had been very BUSY during the day but there were very few results in the form of new clients.
Focus on YOUR Strengths 
The problem was that circumstances had us each trying to do something that wasn't our forte.  I am not the technical expert in the family and Greg is not the marketing specialist.  It wasn't until we each focused on what we did well that the business began to buzz.  
Activities or RESULTS?
There is a great quote that sums this up perfectly, 
"The trouble with so many of us is that we underestimate the power of simplicity. We have a tendency it seems to over complicate our lives and forget what's important and what's not. We tend to mistake movement for achievement. We tend to focus on activities instead of results. And as the pace of life continues to race along in the outside world, we forget that we have the power to control our lives regardless of what's going on outside." Robert Stuberg
Greg and I decided that we would each focus on what we do best.  I can spend a day on the phones and predictably generate consistent new business.  Greg believes in what we do.  He is wonderful with people and instills trust like no one I have ever seen but sales and marketing come as easy to me as breathing so that's what I focus on.  I am a smart woman and can spend hours researching something I am interested in but technical details make me want to poke my eyeballs out.  If Greg isn't building or shooting tours, chances are very good that he is on the computer figuring out new and better ways for our business to run better.  
What are Your Optimal Working Conditions?
Our brains work differently which is a wonderful thing because our individual strengths perfectly complement the others individual weaknesses.  I guess God knew what He was doing when He brought the two of us together.
One place where we are very alike is when it comes to our optimal working conditions.  We are NOT morning people.  We hate alarm clocks.  We would not do well in 8 - 5 jobs.  But we both have an incredible focus and drive when we are allowed to work in our optimal working conditions.  For us, that's working from home when we aren't traveling and constantly doing something new and different.
How are you best in relationship?
Working with you spouse can present some unique challenges to some people but working with my husband makes me thrive.  We feed off of each other's energy and our personalities are a perfect blend for what we have chosen to do.  We work as an incredible team but the truth is that I am best as a team of two.  
I have worked in corporate settings where everything was decided by committee and it drove me crazy.  I like to get things done quickly.  I don't work well in so called team settings.  I am basically an introvert who has learned to be outgoing for business but I prefer to be given a task and get it done.  Once I figured this out, it allowed me to find careers where I could build great business relationships.
What makes you say YES? 
We figured out what we like to do and where we could bring the most value to our clients and we stick to that.  We have figured out that when we are asked to work in our sweet spot, we automatically want to say YES and figure out the compensation later.  When we are working outside of our sweet spot, no amount of money makes it worthwhile.
So What is YOUR Sweet Spot?
Ask yourself these questions and you may find that the answers are obvious.  Then ask yourself are you currently in your sweet spot or is it time to make a change?
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