We all have strengths and weaknesses but do you know what yours are? And what are you doing with this knowledge? I’m impatient. At first, it sounds like I should try to fix this and I did for years, not very well. Turns out that being impatient is actually one of my key strengths: it is the thing that helps me take action.
1. How can being impatient help me take action?
Well, I don’t want to wait for anything so if something is not happening fast enough, being impatient forces me to find a better way to get what I want. Now, what I have taught myself over the years is that there are certain things that take time and I have to accept that so this has changed. I’m more tolerant and accepting but I’m still impatient!
2. What if a weakness of yours was your main strength?
What about you? Have you been trying to fix a perceived weakness for years? What if fixing it would rob you of your best strength? Let’s stay I stopped being impatient, would I still have the drive to make things happen? Food for thought here.
3. Where does this stuff come from?
I believe that we are born with certain personality traits or certainly a predisposition to certain talents. Then the environment we live in either reinforces or weakens them. These skills exist as pathways in our brain. When one of them is reinforced, after a while, the pathway starts resembling a highway whereas a skill that is not developed stays as a path or at best a road.
When we reach adulthood, off course we can be taught new things but the concept I want to introduce to you is that rather than trying to become all rounders and focusing on developing our weaknesses, we are much better off focusing on our strengths. Because you may make some progress with a weakness (maybe learn to control it like my impatience) but chances it will take a lot of time and effort. Whilst if you focus on your strengths, God only knows how big a highway you can build and how quickly you can do it!
4. What should I do if I have a weakness and I need the skill?
If you have a weakness and you really need the skill then you have two choices. No. 1, you can off course try to develop the skill and I’m not saying not to do that. Learning new things is one of the main motivator in my life. But accept that to get good you may have to dedicate many hours. So if you are considering a new career that uses the skill and you enjoy developing it, you should absolutely make the investment.
But… if the skill is something you don’t particularly like or have much interest in, why would you bother? Particularly if this means that you won’t have time to do something else, e.g. grow your new business. This is often an issue at work where we want to be seen as all-rounded or we feel that we should do it all. My view here is that rather than waste time developing a skill that you don’t particularly enjoy learning, hire someone who is good at that.
If you are starting a new business, believe me, you don’t need to be good at accounting, HR, IT, etc. For some of these, hire someone to do it. Because the time you spend getting good at accounting is time you’re not spending developing your products or selling.
5. How do I figure out my strengths?
You can buy the book Now Discover Your Strengths and take the test (you get a code with the book). You can also ask the people around you what they think you’re good at. I did this exercise back in February and what people told me was really interesting and consistent!
Are you spending time developing a weakness and not enjoying the ride? What if you focused on a strength instead and reached the top of your game?