I’ll let you in on something you already intuitively know: Everyone, I mean EVERYONE has weaknesses.
From the poorest of the poorest, to the highest-paid CEO, we all are born with strengths. And along with those strengths, we are also saddled with weaknesses.
Conventional wisdom says you should identify your weaknesses and try to turn them into strengths.
Which. Is. Pure. Nonsense.
Working on your weaknesses will not only frustrate you (there’s a reason why it’s a weakness – it doesn’t come naturally to you), the payoff is not worth it. What you’ll end up is with a mediocre-at-best level of competency.
For example, bookkeeping is not my strongest suit. I could:
a) Focus on that weakness and try to become good at it, or
b) Let an accountant handle my taxes.
The choice is simple.
Why stress becoming good at something that you’re not inclined to do naturally? Specially when somebody can take care of it for you in a quarter of the time it would take you? To work on your weaknesses is not a good use of your time, resources and abilities.
I’m not advocating that you completely forget about your weaknesses. Just that you should focus elsewhere for improvement.
What I encourage you is to identify what your weaknesses are and have a plan to let someone else take care of them for you. You will move a lot faster when you remove bottlenecks and let someone else deal with what would be a headache to you.
What You Should Focus On
It goes against conventional wisdom, but this is what you should do if you expect better results than what conventional methods offer:
Focus on your strengths.
Your strengths are those things at which you already have a built-in advantage over most people. By cultivating your strengths, your progress will skyrocket. Since you’re naturally good at them, you’ll see much faster success at everything you do, whether we’re talking hobbies or work.
This took me a while to figure out, and I didn’t achieve much until I honed in on my strengths.
When I first came out of high school, the “hot” career was Business Administration. At the time, I did not have a passion for business management at least as a career choice. I didn’t particularly care for the conventional path, which meant that after graduation, I’d have to toil away in an entry-level position at some company until, after enough butt-kissing, I could rise among the ranks and become a mid-level manager.
Because I ignored my strengths, mainly my ability to grasp technical concepts easily, I floundered between unsatisfying, entry-level jobs. Only when I decided to embrace my strengths, did my career in the IT field take off.
You’ve got to love what you do, and what you love is usually related to what comes most naturally to you.
What if You Don’t Know Your Strengths?
There’s an easy way to figure out your strengths. Mainly because the research has already been done.
Gallup Inc., a research and management firm, surveyed 1.7 million professionals about their character and attributes. From this research, they were able to identify 34 unique strength traits. They are:
Fairness / Empathy
Inclusiveness / Includer
Depending on where you strengths are, you can chart a course of action that will help you focus your business goals better.
Are you better suited to teach? Maybe your strength lies in organizing information for people in an easily accessible manner. Another strength may be more suited to group interaction (think Webinars, membership forums, etc).
Let your strengths guide your path.
Three Ways to Discover Your Strengths
I’ve compiled three methods to help you figure out your strengths:
1. Go straight to the researchers and buy the Strengths Finder 2.0 book at Amazon.com. The book comes with an access code that allows you to take a test online, plus get a personality report.
2. You can download my free self-assessment worksheet, which will help you rate yourself based on each strength’s description. Download here (.doc file).
3. The guys at WorkUno.com claim to have developed a free test that closely mirrors the Strengths Finder test. It will sort out your answers and rate the 34 strengths accordingly. I took it and it closely mirrored my own self-assessment. Worth the 5 minutes it takes to answer the 170 questions. Take the test here.
After you’ve figured out your strengths, give me some feedback! How well did your own self-assessment match? What’s your plan for incorporating your strengths into your business?
Share your insights in the comments below :)