Why We Should Focus on Our Strengths (Not Our Weaknesses) to Contribute

All my life I’ve been trying to change myself by focusing on my weakness. I have been constantly concerning myself with ways to improve my flaws for I believed it would help me achieve more.

For instance, I was pushing myself to learn sales. I’ve read several books on it and even did a part-time sales job. I knew I wasn’t good at Sales.

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I thought that it was a roadblock that has kept me from being more successful. I was of the impression that Sales is the one area where I needed to excel to develop myself fully. I thought it would improve my communication skills and my people skills.

Failing Strategy

But I realize recently that this is not a good use of my time. My potential to contribute, I now know, will be greatest when I focus on my strengths instead of my weaknesses.

For example, I know that I am good at solving technical problems. I have done it successfully several times before and I know I can do it again. But in order to be really good at it, I need to continue cultivating this skill.

I need to continue to read and expose myself to the kind of technical know-how that would help me solve even more difficult problems.

It's What Successful People Do

If you think about it, great sports persons practice diligently to get better. They continue to work on their talents as if they were just starting out. They work on their strengths.

A runner wouldn’t waste his time developing his communications skills on top of honing his running abilities. He runs every day. He is consistently working to get better and better because he knows that is the only way to be really effective.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe there are some activities that merit our attention besides the stuff that we are good at.

But those shouldn’t be the focus. Those are secondary to what we need to do. The primary goal is to be better at what you’re good at. It’s not to improve your weakness.

Working With Others

When I think about this, I realize that it is also very important that I expose myself to the kind of experience that will enable me to practice. I need to own more problems and fix them. And if I can’t do it by myself, either I ask for help or I get better by acquiring the knowledge.

Solving difficult problems is usually a team effort though. As much as I would want to avoid it, I need to know how to lead groups of people or learn how to tap the knowledge and experience that others have.

I need to understand how other people think and feel so that they will be an asset to my efforts and not a hindrance. I may not be giving the bulk of my time on learning to deal with others but I do have to learn to be better at it.

Being Effective with People

I appreciate the fact that one cannot just impose his or her will on others. But that does not mean that I have to be passive when other people are involved. I cannot afford to be weak in an environment that values confidence. I need to act boldly although I cannot be perceived as arrogant.

If I am wise, I will be able to get my way without making enemies. That, of course, assumes that I have something in mind. It means I have a plan that I wanted to execute which I believed would be the best way forward. This plan may have been created by me or better yet by a team which includes all stakeholders.

I need to showcase my potential as a future leader in my field of expertise. That means being involved in a lot of stuff that I participate in. It means getting down to the details. Getting my hands dirty and knowing the ins and outs.

This seems to be a lot of work. I have the option to either be overwhelmed and not act at all or start now and get going. I want to choose the latter.

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