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The other day I ran across a quote that I had to stop and think about:

Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein

It reminded me again of how we’re all so unique and have different strengths and talents. Some people spend life trying to fit into a the mold of what’s expected and end up feeling like a fish jumping out of water and trying to climb a tree.

Measuring the wrong things in our lives isn’t an encouraging thing to do, is it? My spark isn’t athleticism. I’m that girl who can’t hit a baseball even if it’s on a t-ball stand. I’ve always admired those who could.

Fish can’t breathe out of water, much less swim their way to the top of a tree. And I’d never make it to the Olympics, even with the best trainers in the world. Sure, I could improve and it’s possible someone could succeed where my high school gym teacher failed and teach me to overcome my depth perception issues and hit a ball. But I’d never make a successful career in baseball. What a waste of the talents I do have it would be to focus all that time and energy to try and become something I’m not.

We’ve all got our own spark of genius. Discovering, following, and leveraging that spark so we can share it with others is the challenge. What’s yours? Are you too close to see it in yourself?

Sometimes as entrepreneurs we build businesses that put us in a position where we’re not building on our strengths but instead letting our weaknesses get in our way. Our businesses need to come from a foundation of strength, of what we’re good at, and what we naturally do well.

Fish are happy in the water. They glide along and breathe easily. Are you happy in your business? Business is work. Sometimes it’s hard. But we should be able to breathe and enjoy most of it.

If you’re not in that place right now, I challenge you to take a time out and decide on one thing you can do right now to fix that. Whether it’s setting a new goal, making a new rule for yourself and setting better boundaries, moving in a different direction, or just changing what time you work — doesn’t matter if it’s big or small — change it.

Personally, I’ve got a lot of thinking to do this week about how to better play to my own strengths. Join me!

P.S.  Speaking of doing things your own way… if you think a fish can’t climb a tree, check this out:  the walking fish… so remember also that if someone else thinks you’re a fish trying to climb a tree, if you know you’re headed the right way and following your spark of genius, you just might be that fish who can climb the tree!