In the world of business there’s this little thing called the COP model. COP is an acronym where each letter stands for “Competency,” “Opportunity,” and “Passion,” respectively. Opportunity means there’s a demand or a need for what you do.

If you imagine each as a circle (as I diagrammed above), the area where all three intersect is known as the “sweet spot.” This is the spot where you will be at your very best.

In areas where you have competency and passion, but no opportunity—that’s a hobby. If you have competency and opportunity, but lack passion, then you’re going to be bored, miserable, and underperforming. If there is opportunity, and you have passion but no competency, you’re a novice and need only experience and training.

But where they all intersect is the sweet spot, the area in your life/career that you will be the happiest and be at your very best.

Taking it personally

In whatever you do, you should seek out your sweet spot. Find what it is that you’re the most passionate about and which you have the most natural talent to do, and then find opportunities to do it. Find the demand. If you can do that, you’ll find success.

You also don’t have to find all three. Whereas passion is difficult to create, competency and opportunity are not. If there’s something you’re passionate about, and there’s demand for it, then your job now is to build your competency.

If you have competency and passion but can’t find demand, perhaps your role is an innovator. After all, most of the biggest innovations—the truly revolutionary jumps—come from people who are competent and passionate, but whose thoughts are unbound by the current perceptions of demand. These are they who think freely and find ways to leverage their unique talents to add value in ways that are not mainstream (at least yet).

For the leaders

If you’re a leader, your job is to help those you lead find their own sweet spot. This applies to business leaders as well as parents, teachers, and all who lead. As you help those with whom you associate find their sweet spot, you’ll find fulfillment unlike any other as you watch them begin to excel and progress beyond their prior imagination.

If you have someone that is passionate about something, help them build competencies in that area. For as you focus on what you’re naturally best at, you’ll truly start to stand out from the crowd and become remarkable.

But whatever path you take, please don’t stop short of finding your sweet spot, no matter how long it takes or how much you may have to change in your life. The peace and fulfillment of living within your sweet spot are simply too great to surrender so easily. Keep looking.


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