I recently sat down with Phil Cooke, the author of One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do. The Washington Post called it one of the top five business books for 2012.
Phil is also a working producer in Hollywood—with a Ph.D. in theology.
He’s produced media programming in 50 countries. Been shot at. Survived two military coups. Fallen out of a helicopter. And been threatened with prison—in Africa no less.
Here’s what Phil had to say about finding your niche.
The one big thing was really based on years and years of working with non-profit organizations … that are extraordinary at one single thing. I started applying that towards people. … If we can discover why we’re put on the earth to being with, what we’re wired to do, why we’re created, that helps us figure out that one extraordinary thing that we can become.
That one big thing could be expressed in a lot of different ways. My one big thing is really helping people engage today’s culture. So many people have trouble telling their story. They have trouble getting on the radar out there. They have trouble trying to express themselves to this incredibly distracted culture we live in.
To help people do that, I have a production company … I write books … I speak at conferences and events around the world …
Although it seems like I do a lot of things, I’m really ultimately expressing that one big thing that drives my life. … You think … having that niche … restricts you, but the truth is it really opens you up to an enormous number of possibilities. …
The point of the niche … is you find an area where there’s not a lot of competition, where you could stand out, where you could be extraordinary, and that’s the way to get on the radar. Then the world’s open to you.
I’ll give you another good example: The woman that’s won the most Grammy awards in history. Think of Celine, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand. The woman who’s won the most Grammy awards in history is none of those guys. It’s Alison Krauss the bluegrass player because she owns that niche.
She’s so famous now because of that she’s recorded a rock album with Robert Plant. I hear she’s working on a classical album. Now she can do anything she wants, but she got on the radar by being the master of this particular small, narrow niche.
Once that happened all the doors opened. That’s why I’m a big believer that stop trying to compete with everybody. Find this area where you could be extraordinary and step out into that. Once you own that territory, then you can go any direction you want.
To learn more about Phil Cooke, go to www.philcooke.com.