I want you to cast your mind back to a moment in time where you were up for review. Whether it was as a child coming home to your parents with your latest report card, your annual review at work, or even just a conversation with yourself, or a loved one, about an event that occurred recently.
Overall, you performed incredibly well, but there were a couple of marks against you. They weren’t the end of the world, but still, there they were on your “permanent record.” Did the other person praise you for the good that you did, highlighting your strengths?
Did they comment briefly on the positives and then dip into highlighting how you can improve on those bad marks? Or, did they dip right into the negatives because you shouldn’t make any mistakes at all?
The majority of people would say, from childhood through adulthood, that the second one was their experience. Hey, you did really well, but you missed a trick here. The focus on total perfection can be utterly destructive to your self-esteem and confidence, which potentially eating away at your strengths! There’s even a good chance that your mind takes you back to the situation you went through and in your dreams, you try to rectify your errors to right them.
Despite your overall success, your focus is on the negatives, blurring the positives. It is far more important to your success, whether in your career or your personal life, that you discover your strengths, nurture them, and shift the focus away from those weaknesses.
Your brain has been developing since your early childhood, thus your set of talents and skills is unique to you, as they are to everyone. Your unique talents correspond to the pathways in your brain and they are stable throughout your life.
If you nurture skills and knowledge in those natural talents then you will develop a strength.
Generally, it is an activity that you aren’t just good at, but that you enjoy. Of course, anyone can train himself or herself to attain knowledge in a certain area to grow a “strength,” but it isn’t the same as when it’s a natural talent. Therefore, it’s helpful for you to understand your natural talents.
The people who are the most fulfilled and the most successful know what their talents are and have been able to cultivate them into strengths. You will have met countless people just like this, they do their jobs well, and those jobs tend to revolve around their core strengths. How do they handle their weaknesses? They work around them because they understand that they don’t need to be good at everything. Or, they hire people who supplement their areas of weakness.
For instance, if you are a bit of an introvert you may never get to a point where you feel comfortable handling direct sales, you may know everything there is to know about a product or service, but you won’t excel as a salesperson. That’s okay, you don’t need to chase that life, you can build success around your strengths and cast your weaknesses aside.
We have long been conditioned to believe that our biggest growth areas are in our weaknesses.
Companies will spend their training budget on plugging the gaps in competencies and skills in their employees. The truth is that excellent performers aren’t well rounded and good at everything and that belief just makes employers take strengths for granted.
Doesn’t that sound like a waste of resources when the budget could be used to further strengthen an employee’s core talents?
The true way to succeed in business and in life isn’t by managing your weaknesses; rather it lies in maximizing your strengths. Discover them, nurture them, and wave your weaknesses goodbye.