Never Take a Goose to a Duck Contest

mastery mindfulness mission Sep 14, 2021

Never take a goose to a duck contest.  That’s some good advice right there! But seriously, how many times in your life have you tried to “fix” someone that just cannot be “fixed?”  Are they doing what they are supposed to be doing?  

They think they are a goose, want to be a goose, wish they were a goose but at the end of the day, they are a damn duck.   

How about instead of trying to turn them into a goose, you treat them like a duck? You take time to understand their “duckiness.” You identify what a duck’s strengths are and you utilize those instead of trying to make them into a goose.  

I understand the places in my life where I am a goose and where I am a duck.  This is not to say that being a goose is better or that being duck is better.  Understanding when you are good at one thing but not another and how that knowledge applies to your purpose in life is what we’re really after here.

You also should not enter a goose in a duck contest.  Just a thought.  

Think how stupid you look at a duck contest when you show up with a goose.  Well that’s exactly how stupid you look when you try and force someone to do something they were just not meant to do.  

If I tried to get my Personal Assistant Tracy to sell things, it would be like fingers on a chalk board to her.  She would be a duck at a goose contest.  But if I ask her to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year clearing the path for me to be effective, she will do it until she falls down from exhaustion.  She will excel at it. Finding the right path for your team is the key to effective leadership.   

We all have strengths and weaknesses.  We are all good at some things and just not as good at others.  I am great at reading financial statements, putting deals together, flying airplanes, mentoring, and scuba diving.  I suck at details, creating financial statements, dealing with low level problems, and being sensitive to people’s feelings.    

Know the difference.   Work to your strengths. 

It’s ok to strengthen your weaknesses, but you are better off honing in on your strengths and surrounding yourself with people whose strengths are your weaknesses.   

You can use personality exams such as The Briggs and Stratton test to help you figure these things out or you can just get to know the person and ask questions about what drives them.  

What fills them up?  What would make them get up early and stay up late to accomplish the mission? 

I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact sometimes it can be downright difficult. This process takes trial and error.  It takes patience.   But if you are willing, you will find the appropriate path for each person on your team and in your life. You’ll find a role that makes them happy, lights them up, and it will make you uber successful in the process.   

The key to your success, is helping other people find their success.    

Go find your geese.  Go find your ducks.   Get them doing what they excel at and in turn create the best for them and for you.   You’ll thank me later.  

Keep Living Every Minute,   

Dr. Tim 

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