Everyone gets to various points in their life where they must do an evaluation to determine which direction to go. If you really want to be successful, you’ll need to take some time to really consider each choice and how it will affect you, not only today, but in the future, even 10 years from now. But, you want to work from a place of strength, not weakness.
The truth is that the only weaknesses you should be concerned with are those within the physical, mental, social and spiritual area of your life when and if they are interfering in your ability to achieve success. The three areas in which you can find strengths are play, personal and work. Unless the weaknesses affect these areas, they really don’t matter so much. That’s the best way to find true success not only today, but tomorrow, as well.
How to Evaluate Your Strengths and Weaknesses
While there are numerous tools that you can use, some of which you’ll learn about later, how can you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as objectively as possible?
- What do you do every day? – Most people tend to spend time on the things they like to do more than the things they do not like to do. It’s often the struggle between the two that causes strife, not the activities. If you find yourself easily making time for activity A but avoiding activity B all the time that tells you something. People gravitate toward things they’re naturally good at doing.
- What do other people think you do? – The people around you likely have an opinion about what you are good at and what you’re not good at. Usually, they have an idea in their minds about what they think you do all day long. Ask them. If you have a best friend or same sex sibling, it can help you truly identify what others think of you and think you’re good at. Sometimes what people believe you’re good at is a little different from your own opinion. It doesn’t mean you are wrong, but if that happens, you should try to objectively identify why the difference in perception.
- What do other people say about you? – What people think you do and what they say about you are two different things. For example, maybe they think you are painting all day long but they still think you’re a horrible painter. So just because they see you as doing something particular with your days doesn’t mean they think you’re good. So you need to question people about that and tell them it’s okay to tell the truth because this is about your personal development.
- What do you like to talk about? – Usually, most people find themselves talking about the things they are good at doing and love to do. Now, occasionally you will find yourself focusing on negativity and talking about the things you dislike, hate, or are failing at. Those things are important to note, too. But if something makes you feel especially good, then you’re likely good at it and like it. That’s a very important thing to note.
- What is one mistake that you keep repeating? – Often, you’ll realize that you often do the same things over again, including your mistakes. This can usually be traced back to insisting on doing things that just aren’t natural to you. As long as these things aren’t part of the four elements (physical, mental, social and spiritual) that you need for succeeding at what you desire, you can let go of these types of weaknesses, thus avoiding more mistakes.
When you ask yourself these five questions, take notes – write it all down so that you can analyze it. It’s likely that you will clearly see both your strengths and your weaknesses within the answers.
Capitalize on Your Strengths
Now that you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can begin to place focus on the strengths you want to develop and the weaknesses that matter within the physical, mental, social and spiritual realm, as far as they affect your ability to see your strengths through to success.
When you’ve finally determined what people compliment you for, what you’re happiest doing, and how those things fit into your life, you’ll be able to better approach your quest for success in the areas of play, personal and work. The truth is that the main area of importance is the personal. If your personal life feels successful, then your play and work will feel that way too. Your top qualities will be apparent across all three areas.
• Say No – If it’s possible, start saying no to tasks that don’t emphasize and take advantage of your strengths. You honestly do not need an excuse to say no, but if you’re uncomfortable, just say you have to check with your calendar or your spouse first. Then say no later.
• Cross Skills – Are you super organized at work, but your home life is a little chaotic due to lack of organization? Why not share some of your work skill of organization with your home life to help you find more joy at home?
• Keep Learning – If you have a weakness that is interfering in one of your strengths, identify steps you can take for improvement. Don’t stress about it, but take one step each day to learn something you need to know. For example, if you need to learn about a topic, find books and read at least 30 minutes each day. By the end of the year you’ll have become an expert in at least one subject.
• Don’t Like Something? Stop. – You really don’t need an excuse, but if you really dislike doing something, you don’t have to do it. You may feel as if you do for a job, but in reality you can start creating steps toward not having to do what you don’t like. Start with the things you can easily stop doing right now. Identify the things that you want to give up and can’t right now, create steps toward being able to give it up or delegate it.
• Strengths First – Make it your goal to spend more quality time doing things you enjoy doing that you are good at. If you make it a goal to spend your time for the most part with everything you like doing and are good at doing, your life will feel even more successful as every moment will be a pleasure.
• Avoid Negative People – If anyone in your life is a drag on your confidence, you need to consider letting the relationship go. Spend time with people who lift you up, make you feel good, and make you know you can do it. Whatever “it” is.
• Leave Your Comfort Zone – Focusing on your strengths doesn’t mean you avoid leaving your comfort zone. For example, if you enjoy writing and fancy yourself a published author, make it a goal to write for at least one hour a day leading, to a published book at the end of the year. Push through anything uncomfortable.
The benefit of focusing on your strengths over weaknesses is a life lived of pleasure, happiness and success over one of frustration and unrequited goals. By nurturing your talents, you’ll avoid the risk of them fading away and the pain of regret.
Develop Your Skills
The idea of developing your skills, by leaving your comfort zone, has been mentioned. But let’s take that a little further. Some people may misunderstand and think avoiding your weaknesses means not learning anything new. But nothing could be further from the truth. Even among your strengths there is much to learn.
• Identify Your Strengths – Know which strengths you want to develop. Some things you may be a natural talent in that have nothing to do with what you want to accomplish in life. Perhaps you’re really great at crafts or cooking but it has nothing to do with your career or what will lead you to success. It’s great to focus on that in your leisure time but instead focus on the important strengths that will help you in your career.
• Think Baby Steps – Then, take small steps each day to become even better. For example, let’s say you’re great at public speaking. You love public speaking. You know it can be a real asset to your chosen profession. Join a speaker’s group, read about speaking, practice speaking even if you need to go out and do it for free. The more you do it, the better you will become. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and plan an event of your own that you can showcase your speaking talents at.
• Act Like A Manager – Successful CEOs know how to identify the strengths of their core players and use them at their best. Much like you can’t change how the pieces of a chess game move, managers believe in using each person to their best ability. You should think that way, too, when it comes to your own strengths. No sense in trying to be well-rounded when playing to your strengths will get you to the success and happiness you desire.
• Define Your Expectations – Once you’ve chosen a couple of talents and skills to develop, decide what you expect the end result to be of your efforts. Do you plan to start a speaking business or do you plan to use your speaking skills to get a promotion at work? What are the end results of perfecting your skill set?
Working toward your goals little by little, day by day, can make a huge impact on your life. You don’t have to make a huge change right this moment, just make a small one each day. It may help you to map out the changes you want to make using a monthly calendar starting with the end date and working your way backward toward today for each skill you want to develop. Focus on only one or two skills at a time and you’ll improve your expertise exponentially.
Do Your Weaknesses Matter?
You can be successful based on what you know and can do rather than trying to be good at things you’re not naturally good at. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve or develop weaknesses, or even delegate them to someone else, it just means you don’t need to give your weaknesses as much attention as you may think. You can instead focus on working from a place of strength.
Understand the Truth
Make choices based on what is, not what might be, or what you think it will be in a few months. Instead, make your choices based on now. Now, what are your strengths? Now, what can you do? This gives you an opportunity to realize what you can’t do, or that your weaknesses really don’t matter. Success is based on who you are and what you know right now, not what you don’t know.
For example, if a student who wants to be a surgeon thought they should know everything about that profession before starting school, they would fail on day one. Instead, a smart student focuses on what they know and their skill set. Perhaps the medical student is good at memorization – they’ll use that skill to succeed at school. They know what they’re capable of learning and how they learn best. They don’t focus on what they don’t have yet, or don’t know yet. They focus on taking steps toward a future they know they want – being a surgeon.
Center Your Activity on What You Can Do
Rather than focusing on how guts make you throw up, focus on how much you want to make your patients feel better. Many people are able to overcome fear of heights to become a pilot, fear of water to learn to dive, even natural sea sickness and more to follow their dreams to be a ship captain. It happens all the time. You can do it too.
Focusing on your strengths doesn’t mean you have permission to give up if something is hard, or you have a road block. It just means you have to find a way around the hard part to the good part. For example, if you want to be a romance writer, but you work 5 days a week, 10 hours a day. You may have to write one hour a day on Sunday until you’re done with your book to see success. But, the point is, it can be done if you have a plan. Focus on can, not can’t.
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Finding Time to Focus on you
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