One expert will say that your weaknesses are holding you back. Another will advise to forget about your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. Which is true? Whether you should focus on your strengths or your weaknesses will depend on the situation. It’s advisable to run with your strengths, unless your weaknesses are holding you back.
If your dream is to be a jazz pianist, it doesn’t matter if you stink at playing classical music or your tennis backhand could use some work. However, jazz pianists must be able to improvise. If your improvisational skills need work, they’re a serious limit to your success.
The most successful people maximize their strengths while addressing their relevant weaknesses.
Handle your strengths and weaknesses intelligently:
1. Hire people with strengths that cover your weaknesses. This is why well-constructed work teams can be so powerful. You can hire people with the strengths that you lack.
2. Examine your goals. What skills or traits do you need to be successful in the achievement of those goals? Where are you lacking? How can your strengths be applied? Will your weaknesses be limiting? Can you work around your weaknesses?
• The answer to these questions will make it obvious if you need to address your weaknesses. Avoid worrying about irrelevant weaknesses.
3. Are any of your weaknesses pervasive? For example, procrastination, an inability to make decisions, and a lack of following through on your decisions are weaknesses that affect everything you do. These are worthy of time and effort to correct. These weaknesses can even take away from your strengths.
4. Get a second opinion. Scientists have discovered that people are often blind to their weaknesses. And even when they do identify their weaknesses, they grossly underestimate their severity.
• Be brave and ask a friend to list your weaknesses. Get as many trusted opinions as possible. When you hear several of the same items repeatedly, you can be quite certain that these are genuine weaknesses that could use your attention.
5. Your strengths make you uniquely valuable. Your strengths determine your value in the marketplace. They define what you can bring to the world at a high level. Focusing on your strengths makes sense if it enhances your value to the world.
• The ability to accurately throw a golf ball at a tree isn’t relevant to anyone. Focus on strengths that are relevant to achieving your goals or enhancing your value.
6. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to spend more time on your strengths. Imagine you’re a professional golfer and have the best driving stats on the PGA tour. Does it make sense to spend extra time becoming an even better driver? Your driving skill isn’t holding you back. If you’re not the number one player on the tour, the obstacle lies elsewhere.
7. Keep your ego out of it. It’s human nature to want to spend time doing the things you’re good at and avoid areas of weakness. Avoid allowing your personal preferences to make these important decisions. Spend your time and energy wisely.
Everyone is blessed with strengths and burdened with weaknesses. How you manage your strengths and weaknesses determines your ability to thrive in the world. When allocating your time to increasing strengths or minimizing weaknesses, choose carefully. Address weaknesses that are systemic or stand in the way of achieving your goals.
Think about the logical outcome of how you can spend your time. Some careful thinking with these strategies in mind will bring to light the smartest decision.