It is hard to see the label when you are inside the bottle

Unexpected clues to your Natural Advantage (1)

This is part one of a series on ‘Unexpected clues to your Natural Advantage’.

'Disorganized and dreamy.'

Besides 'too quiet' and 'too calm', those were negative labels I was stuck with in my youth. I heard it from my parents, teachers, and other important people around me.


I envied people who never wrote an appointment incorrectly in their calendar.

People who never tripped over their own feet, never accidentally carried a strip of toilet paper behind them.


People whose desks were not cluttered with mail, books, post-its, cables, and pens like mine, but were always tidy.


It seemed wonderful to be so structured and ordered.


I wanted this too.


I devoured many books and courses about tidying, organizing, and planning to achieve this.


All those years ago, I was so busy improving my organization skills that I couldn’t even see how tightly organized I already had it, both in personal life and in business.


Today, my desk is still messy, I still regularly trip over my own feet, and an appointment sometimes ends up in the wrong place in the calendar.


But at least 90% of my life runs smoothly because I've simplified everything so much that even when I'm in a dreamy mood and I make mistakes, the damage is insignificant and can be resolved quickly.


For example, because I have consciously focused on having relatively little stuff, it no longer matters how much mess I make. Everything can always be tidied up within minutes :-).


I did the same in my company. I simplified everything in my business in such a way so it's easy to keep up and keep track.


Organizing by simplifying came to me naturally because it is part of my Natural Advantage.


Yet it took years before I could see and appreciate my unique way of organizing.


This is not surprising. Because of all the criticism I had received in my youth for lack of organizational skills, I lost trust in my natural ability to organize things.


I kept comparing myself to what I perceived as well-organized people who always have everything in order. I tried to copy their methods in the hope it would make me as effective as them. I somehow got infected by an ‘outside ideal’ of how one should be to be effective.

This prevented me from seeing that my way of organizing is by simplifying.


Why am I telling you this?

I’m sharing it because I frequently see this phenomenon where people are busy developing qualities that they already have.


I meet entrepreneurs who are convinced, for example, that they are “not proactive”, “lack willpower” or “can’t sell”. 

They therefore take courses on marketing and sales, personal effectiveness or leadership or read many books to get better at those things.


While in many cases they often already possess those qualities and are very successful because of them, they simply can’t see it.


This is because - just like me -they have their own unique way of embodying those qualities that stems directly from their Natural Advantage.


Their unique way of doing things is usually different than what is normally seen, even by them, as effective and successful behavior.


That is why they totally disregard it.


This phenomenon where people are busy developing qualities that they already have, is so common that I started to see it as an important indicator for someone’s Natural Advantage.


Even if you can’t see it for yourself at first. That is only human.


After all, it is hard to see the label if you are inside the bottle.


You sometimes need someone else to carefully read the label on your bottle before you can start seeing the value of what’s inside. Someone who is willing to pause and look at your unique vintage rather than judging you on the basis of the most popular labels.


So here is to really savoring your unique contribution to this world,




PS.1 Interested in knowing more about uncovering and working from your Natural Advantage?


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