Do you know the value you add? Really, do you? When you know the value you bring to the table, you can focus on making the most important contribution possible.
I call this your “Value Add.” This is how you best add value to projects, people, teams, systems, your family, and more. These are your contributions that people find valuable, admirable, and maybe even praiseworthy. Your Value Add is what you do that makes the most difference to others.
And it’s the next step in the Best DNA Series. We’ve worked our way through the Passion Brainstorm and the Strengths Brainstorm, which are both worth taking a few minutes to complete, if you haven’t already.
Some people tell you to “live your passion,” or “live your dream.” While other people say that the most important thing in life is to be useful. I say that both are right—bring them together! The best of value add is when you’re contributing to the world and enjoying yourself too. It doesn’t have to be just one or the other.
Ours lives are most meaningful when we contribute to other people’s lives. (Put on your lifejacket; it’s about to get deep.) And the more effective and helpful your contribution, the more meaningful your life will be! (Mic drop! Bob Faw exit stage left.)
But seriously, when your contributions align with your passions and strengths, you will also feel more fulfillment in your career and life. You may even figure out that you want to take on a different career path or hobbies that provide you with more opportunities to add value in a way that suits your passionate strengths.
When I do Best DNA with my clients, I do a fun teambuilding activity around Value Add. Try this in your life. I have each person on the team write down on index cards a way that each of his or her coworkers adds value and helps him or her do their job well. This can be a soft or hard skill, such as “Creates stellar presentations,” or “Helps calm people down.”
Then they give these cards to each other. It’s a bit like Valentine’s Day! When people review their cards, they usually see a lot of overlap and very quickly get a sense of their Value Add. Not only does this help you to see exactly what others value in you, but it also illuminates the needs of others on your team. Plus, when you help others see their value, you start to recognize what others add to your life instead of taking them and their actions for granted.
Value Adds are usually specific tasks, results, or behaviors that you bring to the table that make a difference or help others to achieve their goals. Value Adds can be tasks that you do, or they can be the WAYS that you do it. For example, many people can give useful advice, but maybe you are that one friend who many turn to when they need advice with emotional support.
Exchanging Value Add feedback can also be wonderful for couples and families. With our families we generally have so little time and so much to do. If you can focus on the activities that matter the most, time with your family will be more meaningful. For example, one of the things my wife really loves is when I cook her breakfast. It’s not a strength nor a passion of mine, but it is so easy to do. Plus, it has a great return on effort!
You may see that many of these Value Adds are different ways of describing your strengths. That’s common. If they aren’t, that’s OK too. The purpose is to receive more clarity on how we see ourselves versus how others see us.
Value Add Brainstorm
To discover your Value Add, try asking yourself the following questions.
- Why were you hired/promoted?
- Why do people ask you for help?
- What actions do you do that bring good effects to your family and to your social networks?
- What important roles do you play at work or in other organizations?
- What do you tend to be praised for, asked for, etc.?
- What activities make the most difference to your coworkers?
- How do your personality strengths make a difference for others?
Now choose your top five Value-Adds from your list. Choose the ones that either you really enjoy doing and/or add the most value to others. Don’t overanalyze or take too much time. Listen to your heart here. If it’s both that’s the best, but sometimes you have a mix. Then rank these in order to give you a crystal-clear sense of what your top priorities are.
Prioritizing them like this also gives you clarity about which parts of your DNA are your BEST DNA. When you do, it will give you a laser focus and make it easier to make choices that make you more fulfilled and successful! You can spend more time doing the things that matter most, and do them well.
Next month we will continue with Best BNA as we explore and discover your Principles. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your Value Add discoveries. Simply comment below. And connect with me on social media to get more great tips and ideas.
Visit BestDNA.com if you’d like to be guided through discovering your Best DNA and how you can live more into the best of who you are. If you use the coupon code “valueadd” you can do it for 50% off by the end of May.