Strengthening Your Strengths: Are You Spending Too Much Time on Your Weaknesses?

Whether it's work, relationships, or school, we often spend too much time trying to change our weaknesses rather than focusing on our strengths. By focusing on our strengths and making them stronger, we can be authentic and extraordinary. By worrying mainly about improving on our weaknesses, we become frustrated and low-performing.

Identify Your Strengths
Remember when you brought home your report card with all As except for the C in math? Maybe instead of talking about the 5 perfect grades, your parents said, "we really need to work on that math grade." Or perhaps, now you are in a work environment, and you've been "promoted" to a position where you are managing the work of others. Yet, you notice that while you excelled at writing press releases or answering technical questions on the telephone, you are consistently fail to get good results from those who report to you. Think of the work that you do best, the personal characteristics that make you stand out in a positive way, and the types of things you do that bring you the most joy. 

Give Your Weaknesses Just a Little Break
So, maybe one of your strengths is that you are very deliberative, detailed and careful, always wanting to turn in your best work. On the flip side, a weakness if that it takes you longer to complete a project than it does your friend or colleague. While completely disregarding your weakness to the point that you miss a deadline is self-destruction, consider ways to restructure your work  - or find a job or a major - that requires steadiness over speed. Then practice thinking less about your weaknesses, letting go of some of the guilt that accompanies it and turns into a vicious cycle of underperformance.

Feed Your Strengths
So you realize, perhaps, that you are great writer and a great cook, but not so good at public speaking or gardening. Instead of taking a personal development class on speaking or growing organic vegetables, invest more of your time in becoming an even better writer or a better cook. In other words, take your natural talents and forge an authentic path to greatness.

Building Greatness in Others
One of the great, classic problems in relationships is the tendency for one person to want to change another. Instead of finding the flaws in your parents, spouse, or other loved ones, actively point out their strengths and think of the person in terms of acceptance. Identify the gifts of your children and proactively nurture these. With employees, recognize the positive and explore whether or not low performance is actually a function of poor job fit. Sometimes, this change in perspective and direction will yield very welcome results.


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