Focus on your Strengths and Enjoy the Benefits
Use Your Energy Wisely
Everyone one has strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, people tend to spend far too much time focusing on the latter, when they should be focusing on their strengths.
You have probably heard that weaknesses are great opportunities for development, which is true for those who are willing to do the work, but it is usually more productive to focus on your strengths.
Research suggests that when people focus on strengths, they have a much better chance for success than if all their energy is focused on improving weak spots. Seek out activities and assignments in areas where you know you can excel and that you will enjoy doing. When you are involved in work that uses your strengths, it feels more natural, which will make you more effective and productive.
If you want to win, if you want to excel, if you want to stand out, you’re going to have to take the few unique things about you that are beautiful and powerful, and take them seriously, and turn them into contributions. – Marcus Buckingham
Below are steps you can take to change your focus and enjoy more success in your professional life.
Identify Your Strengths
This is the obvious first step!
Don’t try to do this by yourself. Solicit input from others and identify the core strengths that make you unique, valuable, and passionate about your work. There are robust ways to discover your unique talents, abilities, and ways of thinking – talking with your manager, mentors, peers, or a career coach. Try them all and see what works.
Online options such as Myers Briggs or Gallup Strengths are available and can be helpful in naming strengths.
Then, name your strengths – it would be smart to make a list and possibly keep a journal of when and how you are using them. This will keep them uppermost in your mind and focused on using them.
Self-understanding and self-support is key. Concentrating on your strengths brings a better sense of fulfillment and forward progress.
Use Time Wisely
You only have 24 hours each day and you get to choose how to spend them. Obviously, a certain number are required for the activities that sustain life such as eating and sleeping (a big chunk); but, there are quite a number of remaining hours. My suggestion is that you spend them focusing on your strengths – through thought, action, and pursuits.
Don’t waste a single minute focusing on weaknesses. Because that minute will be gone and you can never get it back. It is one less minute that you could have spent focusing on a strength – and all those wasted minutes add up to lost hours.
This is known as opportunity cost (a benefit that a person could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action.).
Doesn’t it make more sense to spend the maximum number of hours available focusing on your strengths?
There are times when it does make sense to focus on a weakness, if the purpose is to work on changing the weakness into a strength. That is a positive act of personal development that is well worth the time and effort.
Unfortunately, often when people are thinking about their weaknesses, they are more likely to be obsessing about them, which does nothing but diminish their self-confidence.
Everyone Has Weaknesses
It is a waste of time and energy to obsess and fret about them. Some you will be able to change – and some you will not.
If you are interested in making an effort to change them, the first step is to recognize and acknowledge that they exist. Then, do what you can to change them. Get help from someone you trust to work on them if that will help. Always keep in mind that by improving an area of weaknesses, it is adding to your strengths.
Change what you can change and let the rest go. Spend the bulk of your time focusing on your strengths, enhancing them, and using them in the most effective ways possible.
Some of your strengths are amazing; but, I suspect there are strengths that could be made even stronger with a little effort. Most artists continually work to improve their craft. It is a lifetime commitment.
Shouldn’t your commitment to yourself and your personal strengths be just as great?
Work with People Who Even Stronger than You
The purpose of this step is not to compare yourself with others, but to be around people who inspire you and challenge you so growth can be exponential. Times are changing – it’s a different world from what it was only a few years ago.
There is so much to learn and learning from others should be at the top of your list. Look for new sides of yourself that may have been deeply hidden. Let them come to light. Align yourself with people you may have competed with in the past, or people who make you feel competitive. Then, give yourself permission to learn from them..
Billy Joel is an amazing talent. He is known world-wide as a great singer, songwriter, and pianist. Were you aware that at one point in his career he took time off to get even better? He decided to do that after he worked closely with Ray Charles because he felt he was inadequate in comparison to Mr. Charles.
Follow Billy Joel’s lead. You may be excellent in a particular skill or craft, but why not get even stronger? Seek out and learn from people who are better or stronger than you in a given area. Let them inspire you.
Such people may be intimidating at first, but, tame your ego and recognize what you can gain from just being around them. Let them be your model and emulate them. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Revive Old Strengths
There may be things you have done in the past that served you very well; but, have slipped by the wayside. It could be a stroke of genius to bring discarded strengths back into the mix of your life.
If you are over 30-years-old, there is a good chance that you have already reinvented yourself at least once. Maybe you changed careers or left a particular path you were following and in the process you let some of your strengths slip away in order to build different ones. It is possible those strengths could serve you once again.
Don’t be afraid to reintroduce past strengths into your current career or life path. It may be just what you need. Using past experiences and strengths may open up avenues you have not been considering and give you a new perspective on everything.
There you have it – at least for today. I will summarize by saying: Spend as much time as possible every day of your life focusing on your strengths. Choose to do things that fulfill and enhance your life and give pleasure to yourself and those around you.
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