The concept of the three circles, or the Hedgehog Concept, is powerful for not only corporations and nonprofits and organizations but also individuals. Imagine you were able to get or construct work for yourself that meets three tests: you’re passionate about it and you love to do it; you’re genetically encoded for it, so that when you do it you just feel like you were born to do it; and finally, you’re able to make the economics in your life work—you get well paid for it or perhaps there’s some other way of funding it with an economic engine.
Now, people often struggle with the question, how do I find my own Hedgehog Concept? How do I find the intersection of my three circles? Let me suggest a specific piece of homework that everybody can do. That specific piece of homework is to take three totally separate sheets of paper. On the first sheet of paper, do an analysis of yourself along the lines of, what am I truly passionate about? What do I love to do? What are the things that, even if there’s drudgery in them, I really have passion for doing them, and I have passion for the work?
Sheet #2 covers the question, what am I genetically encoded for? What are those things that, when I do them, I feel as if I was made to do this? This just fits the way I’m constructed. It fits my psychology. It fits my capabilities. It fits what maybe I was even put here on this earth to do.
Finally, with the third sheet of paper, note all the various things you can think of that would allow you to have an economic engine. What are the things you could do in which you could make a living, if you need to do that? Or maybe the answer to that question is, “I don’t really need a traditional economic engine,” but what does your economic-engine sheet have as all the possibilities on it?
Don’t worry about how those three circles or those three sheets of paper intersect with each other while you’re doing each one. Do them independently. Then give copies of those three sheets to your personal board of directors, or to other people whom you admire and whom you feel can provide perspective to you, and ask them for their thoughts regarding where they see the intersections. What do they think is the right direction for you? Have fun with it.