As we approach the launch of my six week Niching for Hippies coaching program, I’ve been writing and thinking a lot about niching.
And one thing has gotten clearer and clearer to me over the past month: your niche is often you.
Or at least who you used to be.
And I want to hone in on that theme here.
Because, I think there’s one question you can ask yourself which will take you closer to figuring out your most authentic niche than anything I know.
A question that’s so simple and so obvious but so clear that you it might surprise you.
Here’s the question: “What have you had to overcome in your life to be where you are today?”
Think about it. You’ve had to overcome a lot in your life to be where you are: heartbreak, death, profound loss, deep loneliness, cruelty from others etc.
And to survive that, you had to adapt. You had to learn to get good at certain things. You had to develop skills. And maybe life just pulverized you into submission and you had to learn the art of letting go. Maybe you became charming, maybe you got good at art, maybe you learned a lot about compassion, maybe you had to learn a lot about how life really works vs. how you wished it might.
My guess is that to deal with your wounds you might have talked to a lot of friends, gone to workshops, sought out counseling, gone back to school.
Overcoming things is not easy work.
And the word ‘overcome’ here is important.
I’m not just asking you to think about where you’ve struggled in life. Struggle doesn’t imply any kind of growth or learning. I’m asking you to consider where in your life you’ve really made progress. Maybe you didn’t make it as far as you would have liked, but you’re further than you were (and maybe further than you ever imagined you’d be).
Maybe you used to be really overweight. And now you’re still a bit overweight but you’ve made so much progress.
Maybe you used to be deep in debt and you’re not all the way out but you’re well on your way.
Maybe you were shattered by heartbreak and, you’re not 100% over it but you’re 75% over it.
Maybe you used to feel anxious and depressed all the time and now it’s only some of the time.
You’ve made progress. You’ve overcome it in a lot of ways. You’re not longer trapped in the quicksand of the problem.
And that qualifies you to help anyone who has made less progress than you, anyone who’s a few steps behind you in their journey. You don’t have to posture and pretend to be an expert or to be perfect. To offer help you just need to be a few steps ahead.
Another way of putting it: haven’t you become the very person whose help you needed when you were younger?
I realized that the person I have become here in 2012 is the exact person I would have so loved to meet back in 1998 … and if we had met, I am pretty sure I would still be practicing medicine in some fashion today. Once I realized this and saw the amount of burnout – and suffering – out there … the purpose of these last 12 years of my life became crystal clear.
Imagine if younger you could have had the insights and experience you have now. Imagine if, somehow, you could have given yourself the mentorship and guidance that you so needed back then (and that you would have listened).
Well, this world is full of ‘younger yous’. It’s not too late. There are so many people trapped in the swamps of the very issues you have overcome and made so much progress in.
Can you think of any group of people you are more qualified to help than them?
Can you think of any person they might be happier to see than you? Someone who’s already been through it.
Can you think of any group of people you’d be happier to help? Any kind of work that would be more meaningful?
I invite you to sit with this question: “What have you had to overcome in your life to be where you are today?”
Your answers might surprise you, free you and delight others.
Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/