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  • Stephen Scott Johnson

Agility - what's your secret sauce?

It’s been a huge week in Iso helping clients navigate the ever-changing reality that is Covid-19. Amidst mentoring, hosting webinars, and writing my book, my son Dante quietly cruised into his nineteenth year on the planet and so by request, I spent most of Friday baking for his Iso family party.

Baking is like meditation for me, and if you follow my Instagram you will see amidst articles and inspirational quotes that I’m a trafficker of copious amounts of sugar. This is the result of growing-up in the kitchen around the ankles of my Norwegian and Scottish grandparents, Albert and Jean. Both brilliant bakers, I inherited their instinct for food science and sticky sweet superpowers – a ‘secret sauce’ that I weave throughout my personal and professional context. On the menu for Dante was my twist on a chocolate meringue spice cake, and Heston Blumenthal’s lemon tart, which isn’t just any lemon tart, but rather, something of a science experiment that results in a perfectly zingy, mildly sweet, citrusy affair that transports you into another dimension, or sugar coma, at the very least.

In case you’re wondering how this relates to high-performance, well, being stuck in Iso has many people reimagining life and priorities in order to make meaning of and find the silver linings in this crisis – significant others, family, connections, meaningful work – essentially those people and things we do that provide joy and fulfilment. For some, Covid-19 lockdown has jolted an unconscious, autopilot existence into a more present one, creating the awareness and space to re-evaluate what is truly important in life, be that relationships, career, or interests they previously lacked motivation to pursue. For others, it’s about reimagining how to optimise talent and energy to create an even bigger, more positive impact. In all of this, having a clear sense of purpose is key.

Today, I want to unpack ‘secret sauce’ in more detail with the goal of helping you discover yours – distinctive traits and abilities that light you up and set you apart from others. Secret sauce is usually linked to what we’re passionate about, which in-turn makes us attractive to others. I don’t mean attractive as in Tinder profile, more so in a magnetic centre of influence kind of way.

What sets you apart?

Are you aware of distinctive traits and abilities? For example, my friend Joe loves juggling, and he introduces this circus art into his work with executive leaders to increase neuroplasticity. Juggling sets him apart, his secret sauce. What do people continuously recognise about you?

What lights you up?

What inspires you to get out of bed in the morning against all odds? In other words, what motivates you? What brings you a deep sense of fulfilment? What does fun mean for you? What are you naturally gifted at? Reflect upon your childhood for a moment. What were you constantly doing and putting your energy to? As a child, I was ever curious about the way things work, constantly pulling things apart and putting back together, or designing stuff, mixing materials and colours to create more optimal, desired effects. Applied to my work today, my ‘secret sauce’ is a lot like defragmenting a computer, only with people – an ability to identify and resolve behaviours and beliefs that get in the way of success, which helps them function more effectively.

What makes you magnetic (attractive to others)?

When you’re at your best, what are you doing? What is effortless and authentic to you? Can these attributes be leveraged to create value? If so, how do they translate in-service of others? Imagine yourself as being someone’s vital ingredient – the essential element they can’t live without. That’s your secret sauce.

Until next time,


Stephen

Elevate your personal & professional leadership. One article per week. No spam ever.

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