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How I Created My Own Circle Of Competence

The Circle of Competence was one of the most important exercises I did before founding our current company Ongig.

The circle of competencies includes all of the things you are good at.

I started a new business after sitting with my "circle of competence" on my wall for a few months

The Circle of Competence is simple: you write down the things that you are competent about and draw a circle around it. And then, as Buffett explains, remember that the more you go outside your circle of competence, the more you increase your risk.

Check out this short video where Warren Buffett talks about his Circle of Competence. One interesting definition of a “competence” comes from Buffett’s partner Charlie Munger who says:

“A ‘competence’ that has no defined borders cannot be called a true competence.”

If you want some tips creating your own circle of competencies, here’s what I thought about when I created mine:

  • List out the things that you love to do
  • List out the things that you are great at
  • List out the things you do where you lose total track of time
  • List out the things that others praise you for
  • Put them all in a circle and live with it

It was after I did this “circle of competencies” exercise that I realized that there was an opportunity that transcended a few of my own competencies (Careers, Content and Networking), that I came up with the idea that led to Ongig (which I founded with Jason Webster and Kevin Lanik).

Note: I mentioned Circle of Competence in my speech on Personal Branding to the American Marketing Association.


  • Sonia Mallet

    I am part of Ramit Sethi’s Brain Trust and am currently enrolled in the Dream Job 2.0 program, and I thoroughly enjoyed your interview with him. In fact, I watched it twice. I was thrilled to see the elaboration on “circle of competencies” here, as I am visually oriented, and the concept was clear, but I lacked the visual elements to apply it in my own life. I discovered you and your blog through Ramit. Very grateful I did!

  • Sonia Mallet

    Another note, this one related to your header banner. There is a typo. As a translator/proofreader, it has been driving me mad. (Entreprenuer should be Entrepreneur). This small detail takes away from the great potential of the book. I’m the kind of person who would forgo buying a book (or any printed material) because of an obvious typo on the cover because it gives me a really bad impression. Even when I know I’m wrong, like in your case, I’ve experienced how useful, insightful and valuable your material is.

  • Rob Kelly

    I’m glad you found the circle of competence useful, Sonia.

    And thx for pointing out the typo!

  • Sean Oliver

    This is a helpful framework. Thanks! Going to put this in my journal now.