I was laughing with some of my friends about Patrick Stewart’s voice-over for a recent National Car Rental commercial, in which he praises a road warrior businesswoman with the sonorous proclamation: “Your core competency is…competency!”
Everyone, I think, has a core competency, which management theory descibes as follows:
1. It is not easy for competitors to imitate.
2. It can be leveraged widely to many products and markets.
3. It must contribute to the end consumer’s experienced benefits.
It seems like tautology, but for the women in my family, our core competency really is competency. We get shit done. When I gave the eulogy at my grandmother’s funeral last year, one of the things that I talked about was the way that Grandmee was able to get everything done and make it look easy. She was widowed at 31, with three small children, and went back to work. She sewed, she cooked, she took care of friends and family and volunteered for her church, her local hospital, and Meals-on-Wheels. MamaSharper is the same—for most of my childhood she had a husband who traveled frequently on business, so she did the heavy lifting of raising children while holding down a full-time job as an educator while also getting her PhD in night school. My aunts, a nurse manager and lawyer, are also overachievers at getting stuff done (particularly my youngest aunt, who is a single mom). My cousin, a stay-at-home mom, just moved to a new town with her husband and children. Within a month she had unpacked everything, figured out which stores had the best bargains, which tradesmen they’d hire for home renovations, and where the kids would go for after-school programs. And of us, myself included, are excellent in a crisis. We don’t panic. We get things done when everyone else is freaking out. It’s what we do well.
What’s your core competency? Can you fix anything? Do you have great taste and style? Are you excellent at finances? Are you a born administrator/leader? A terrific student or educator? A community organizer? Blow your own horn in the comments!