Weakness is nothing to be ashamed of. But strength is no reason for pride, either.
Each of us has unique strengths and weaknesses that compose who we are. But even if you already know your why, knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you shape how to reach your goals.
So rather than spinning your wheels trying to be good at everything, why not spend your time becoming great at one or two things?
What Are You Good At?
What comes naturally to you that others find difficult? What are the things you’re doing when you lose track of time? These are your strengths.
The opposite items would be your weaknesses: the things that you find difficult, boring, or that make you want to fast-forward so it will be over already.
When you know what you’re capable of, it can help you shape your goals. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you create the most effective path to reaching your vision. It can help you plan around obstacles before you reach them in order to improve your chances of success.
Should We Focus On Strengths Or Weaknesses?
We’ve often been told to work on our weaknesses. And while it’s never a bad thing to improve ourselves, sometimes our time is better spent focusing on our strengths.
It’s basically the concept of specialization of labor. It used to be that a person had to be a jack-of-all-trades just to get by. Nowadays, we specialize. One man writes software all day, while another cleans suits all day. Then those two exchange money for the product or service that the other provides. Each one focuses on using their strengths, because the programmer wouldn’t be very good at dry cleaning, and the cleaner wouldn’t be very good at writing software. Could it get done if they switched? Maybe, but the quality will certainly be lower. Hence, we specialize.
Always Give Your Best Effort… Which Sometimes Means Letting Someone Else Do It
If you know you are good at something, that’s great! Do it to the best of your ability and enjoy the work. If you know you aren’t good at something, that’s okay too. It’s perfectly acceptable to hire someone else to do it for you. The time and stress you will save from having to learn to do it yourself will definitely be worth the cost. There will probably be exceptions where it makes sense for you to try to learn a new skill. But remember, it’s impossible to learn everything, especially on a professional level.
The sooner you let go of the idea that you have to do everything yourself (sorry, perfectionists), the better off you’ll be.
Focus On Your Strengths
If you still aren’t convinced, here’s one more example. Let’s say you are a right-handed batter and you just got your big break in the major leagues. Do you decide to practice your left-handed swing because you’re not as good at it? Of course not! You work on further improving your right-handed swing, because that will give you the best chance of success.
If you have no idea what your strengths are, take out a sheet of paper and try to come up with at least five things that you are good at. If you’ve never done this before, it can be difficult, since the possibilities might as well be endless.
Think of what you would do with your time if money didn’t matter. Would you build things with your hands, or would you write song lyrics? If you could switch to any career you wanted, what would it be? What aspects of that career make it sound appealing? Are you good with numbers? What are the parts of your day that you look forward to? Do you enjoy giving presentations? What topics do your friends come and ask you about? Is there a trivia category that you would dominate?
If you are still having trouble identifying your strengths, ask a friend or family member to tell you what they think you’re good at. You may be surprised by their answers!
Once you have your list, you can keep your strengths in mind when deciding how to spend your time. For instance, if you aren’t good with numbers, you might want to hire a CPA to do your taxes for you. That way you can be intentional about the way you spend your time — your taxes will get done properly, and you will be freed up to work on your debut novel.