Undoubtedly you have been warned not to put all of your eggs in one basket. The meaning of the phrase is clear enough: avoid placing all of your opportunities in a single source. The goal then, according to this egg diversification system, is to spread those opportunities out into multiple sources so you won’t only depend upon a single source.
That sounds like a good plan but there’s a flaw with it. It assumes all eggs are good eggs. It assumes every egg is of equal value. It assumes some eggs as easy to obtain as others. There’s very little focus on the egg in this old saying. It’s time to look at the egg.
Know Your Egg
My friend Chuck has his eggs in three baskets. Sounds like a wise move, right? One basket is his primary source of income–his landscaping and lawn care business. The second basket is the money he makes as a trainer at a local gym. The third basket is the multi-level marketing business he joined a year ago.
Chuck is an excellent landscape and lawn guy. He makes 90% of his household income on that business. He’s also a good trainer. He’s passionate about his work there but brings home only about 7% of his total income from it. His remaining 3% of income comes from the multi-level marketing business which is requiring him to do things that aren’t really strengths of his.
My concern about Chuck’s situation is that while he has eggs in three diverse baskets, Chuck is really unclear about his eggs. Chuck is the egg. His strengths and passions are the egg. It’s time to flip this old saying.
You Are The Egg
Chuck knows himself well enough to know he loves being outdoors and he loves the landscaping and lawn care business. He doesn’t settle for 99%. Everything has to be 100% correct. He’s meticulous. That’s just what you want when you hire a guy like Chuck. That’s also why he’s making the majority of his income here. This is his best egg but he only has one basket in this egg. All the other baskets are completely unrelated to this egg. Chuck would be well served to forget the idea of putting his eggs in multiple baskets and instead put all his baskets in his single excellent egg.
The idea of putting all your baskets in one egg supports the idea of diversifying your interests but also means that you know your strengths well enough that all of the baskets relate back to what you can do well. Putting all your eggs in one basket doesn’t require you to examine the quality of the basket or egg. It just advocates diversification. Putting all your baskets in one egg, however, requires that you know your egg well enough to determine which baskets actually make sense for you.
My buddy Chuck is working exclusively with alternative fuel lawn mowers and other environmentally friendly lawn care methods. He’s the only guy in town doing that which sounds a whole lot like a future basket opportunity for his egg. Maybe he’ll turn that experience into consulting or become an advocate for it or some other thing that keeps him going deeper with that really good egg. Focusing on you’re strengths will actually make you stronger.
Play To Your Strengths
The idea of playing to your strengths isn’t new. The idea of diversifying your business interests isn’t new either. The idea of making sure your playing in your strengths while you diversify is all I’m advocating. You may see some success in the diversification of random things but why not diversify where you’re strongest so a lesson you learn working in one basket will be able to apply to your other baskets?
You Need A Friend
It’s highly likely that once you decide to do this you’re going to realize you need a friend. The funny thing about working in your strengths is that you realize you need help from other people in the areas where they’re strong and you’re not. For instance, my friend Nathan and I started Epic Frequency together several years ago. He’s the designer, developer and general creative visionary for our little company. I’m the business development, marketing and branding guy. We’re both working within our strengths and it’s working out nicely. Epic Frequency is one of several baskets in my egg and I make sure my role within the company fits my strengths.
The next time you find yourself considering a new opportunity ask yourself if the basket is good for your egg. Perhaps it’s time to evaluate something you’re already doing. Can your role within that particular venture become more egg-worthy if it’s not already? Or maybe you need to back everything up and spend some time determining your strengths in the first place. Try starting with the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test, reports and book. Spend some time charting all the things you’ve done in life that really made you feel like you were operating within a core strength of yours. The more clear you are about your egg, the better baskets you’ll choose.