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Is Holy Grail syndrome holding you back?


By fixating on finding the one talent that will bring you success and eternal happiness, you risk missing out on what really makes entrepreneurs successful.

Writing for The European Business Review, Tijs Besieux explains how to overcome what he calls “Holy Grail syndrome” by focusing on your unique mix of talents, passions and skills.

It’s these opportunities for value creation that he says provide the foundations for a business in which only you can excel. Here’s how to combine your skills and interests into a unique entrepreneurial vision:

Take a good look at yourself. List all the things you’re good at and/or feel passionate about. Think outside the professional box and include your personal passions and interests. Are you good at languages, a fantastic cook, or enraged by poverty?

What do you care about? What energises and motivates you? Social entrepreneur and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus blended deep concern for the poor of Bangladesh with his skills as a PhD in economics to come up with the innovative concept of microcredit and microfinance.

Consult others. Perhaps you have talents or abilities you are unaware of. Or maybe your skills are so intrinsic to your being that you can’t see them. Now is the time to consult your friends, colleagues and family. What do they think you are good at? Add their contributions to your list.

Dare to dream. Switch off your inner critic and brainstorm. Make connections between your talents and interests and see what ideas this sparks. Forget practical considerations or concept evaluation and don’t limit the number of crazy ideas you come up with; the more the merrier.

On the surface, a passion for activism, cosmetics and business might not seem too promising a combination, but Anita Roddick put these together to create The Body Shop. The idea for GoPro came from a quirky combination of a talent for surfing and a passion for cameras. Set your imagination free and see what emerges.

Step back. Now’s the time to let your practical side take over. Evaluate and develop your ideas; test them on your trusted peers. Do any of them have wings?

The challenge is to create a unique vision – a singular business venture that’s particular to you and your combination of talents and interests, and which appeals to a specific group of clients.

The key to career success is the process of putting all that you are into the mix, not the pursuit of a single skill or talent.