Everyone has a secret sauce.

I define your ‘secret sauce’ as the ideas, thoughts, techniques and insights you've gained from being in your chosen areas of pursuit. In business, the arts and many other pursuits, your secret sauce is the inside information combined with your experience which makes you a success and all the others an ‘also ran’ or ‘me too’.

It is the spice and flavor that you uniquely add which makes you stand out. It is the difference between being a leader and innovator and being just one of the herd.

If you have some measure of success in your chosen area of interest, I am confident that it is in part because of hard work and focused efforts; but I also believe it is knowing when to apply 'your secret sauce’ which has pushed you over the top.

A bit of online research indicates that the world’s most famous burger secret sauce is the right mixture of mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, yellow mustard, white wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Merely listing the ingredients here is not enough. Knowing when you have too much mayonnaise and not enough paprika is the combination that makes for the unique taste, texture and feel of this burger topping. It takes the right combination of both ingredients and technique make the difference between Thousand Island dressing, Sandwich Spread and burger secret sauce.

Many people have made outstanding careers from finding and using their secret sauce. For others, this isn't enough. They feel a responsibility to be a way shower for those on the path behind them. They feel a need inside of them to move their chosen pursuit forward. Or, they just want to make it easier for the next generation of those to come to have faster, more satisfying success. This can be as a result of both these noble methods and the desire to prosper as a result of this sharing. Both are actually quite acceptable.

One element that makes you a success is “your unfair advantage.” It’s easy to look at a situation and know that something is an unfair advantage. I was watching a football game this past weekend and there was a wide receiver who most would say had an unfair advantage over the defensive backs. He was by far the tallest player on the field. He had long arms and great athleticism. He was also knowledgeable about how to take advantage of his attributes, gifts and talents to catch passes and score touchdowns. While the defenders may not have said so to the media, I know more than a few feel he had an unfair advantage over them. I also am sure that that receiver knew he had an unfair advantage over them and has worked with those qualities to capitalize on them to be a success.

In our life, we fail to recognize our own unfair advantages which we have but are quick to point out all the unfair advantages which others have.

It’s not egotistical to know these. From all the way back to ancient Greece to today’s contemporary business coaches, we hear that a key to success is to know ourselves. We often sit and write as a part of our own personal discovery process. More often than not, our time is spent writing down lists upon lists of goals comprised of what it is we want to have, own and do or we look at the other side of this – we write down a list of our mistakes and short comings, what 12-steppers call a personal inventory, and work to quickly tidy up these egregious acts so we can move on to a better existence and be at peace with ourselves.

If you want to get in touch with your own attributes, gifts and talents, I have a simple task for you. In the next 48 hours, I want for you to take your pad, notebook or electronic device, and make you a list. At the top of the page, I want you to write out the words “My Unfair Advantages.” I want for you to list the good stuff which makes you truly you … and not worry about what others may say, think or feel. Go for as long as you can and list the reasons you can hold your head up high. It can be simple or silly, but the elements of being who and what you are … and the distinct or ‘unfair’ advantages which these give you. These are your equivalent of all the speed, height and athleticism of that football wide receiver.

Here are just a couple of many things I wrote:
• I have a natural and easy sense of humor that helps me to build report, communicate easily and makes me come across as enjoyable to spend time with.
• I have a curious mind and always enjoy learning and knowing more about matters that interest me. I am also open to learning about things I don’t know.
• I have an understanding and an appreciation for historical events, and I am able to put them in a context to gain clarity and perspective from them.
• I have several work place experiences which gives me experience and understanding how several different types of operations conduct business, rather than having worked at only one place for twenty years.

This is no Stewart Smalley, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me" line. These are a list of the elements or should I say ingredients which make up your secret sauce. It’s as if you are walking in to your kitchen, over to the spice rack and reading off all the makings with which you have to cook a great and grand meal.

Your task in the next seven days is to first give yourself permission, and then give yourself the time to write this list of your unfair advantages. You can use short words or explain in great details why each of these is an unfair advantage. I also want you write until you can’t add any more. You may need to set it down then and come back to it later. Once you’re done writing, don’t just run off and read them to the kids or your significant other … they didn't hear this, so they may think you are full of yourself. I want you to put them some place which is secure, and yet accessible. I like the front inside cover of a book on my nightstand. If you are ever feeling self-doubt, frustration, contempt or inadequacy, I then remind you to go to your list.

If you send me a copy, I am offering you the opportunity to have me support you with this task. You can either email or mail them to me. The email address is deanslistpublishers@gmail.com or you can email them to me, Dean La Douceur, c/o Dean’s List Publishers, P.O. Box 71181, Rochester Hills, MI 48307. I will then send you a reminder in a bit to pull them out. Then, I want you to make this the basis of your future. The why of what you should or shouldn’t, could or couldn't be doing.

In my experience, many people have wanted to share their secret sauce. They have wanted to give a taste to those who would listen and feed and nurture those who would be mentored. I have known people who have seen themselves in a second career as authors, speakers, trainers, consultants and experts.

I have seen many of them act on this. More than a few have prospered. Many more have not.

So having and knowing this secret sauce and recognizing your unfair advantages is not enough. It takes more. Knowing how to package you and your message is critical. Recognizing opportunities to share and demonstrate your secret sauce is crucial. Knowing and anticipating some of the hurdles and pitfalls ahead are essential to packaging, marketing and then serving 'your secret sauce' to right audience.
If you are an author, speaker, expert or consultant … and you have a message to share, helping you to realize this and guiding you through a process to have it come out as a book, a speaking career, a consulting practice or as a useful tool is my secret sauce. If you want more information on how to do this, contact me directly.

Author's Bio: 

W. Dean La Douceur, MBA is a author, speaker and collaborator. He is President and founder of Dean's List Publishers, an artisanal publishing company which provides writing, publishing, distribution and logistics services for authors who want to invest in their future success. He has over twenty five years experience in communications, marketing, publicity and promotions.