A few days ago, I was talking with a friend about a variety of topics. One of the topics was careers. As the conversation evolved, I told her the thing I don’t see many people do that is the most effective thing a person can do for their career – play to their strengths. Instead, people spend time, money, and energy trying to transform the areas in which they are weakest (not challenged….weak!) to only end up moving the dial from a two to a 3.5 on a scale from 1-10, if they’re lucky!
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve, especially if it’s in an area that’s vital to your success, but how often do you spend time working on traits that really aren’t critical or that will never become strengths for you?
Think about it – when you’re working to improve in an area, your thoughts, words and actions are also focused on this area. This means you’re probably highlighting this weakness for the people who matter – your boss, other leaders, your peers, and maybe even your team. Is this really what you want them to know and remember about you? Probably not.
I truly believe everyone has been blessed with at least one special occupational talent – big picture thinking, being organized, strong interpersonal skills, attention to detail, public speaking, creativity, analytical, writing, etc. When you think about what talents you have, how often do you really capitalize on them? How often, do you seek opportunities that will utilize your strengths? Or, are you always trying to find a training class that will help you with your weaknesses?
I did recruiting for 25 years and one thing I know, organizations will always pay people who do things well. This is a fact. The things you are talented at doing will usually solve a problem for someone else. Why not spend your time solving the problems of others with talents that come naturally, or at least easier, to you? And, be compensated for it?
I, too, have been guilty of this. Even in my business, I spent time trying to strengthen weaker areas. But, I’ve made a switch! I don’t try to keep my financial records in order, I hired a C.P.A. As I work on some major rebranding for my business, I’m not trying to do it myself. Instead, I’ve hired a phenomenal company to help me while I remain true to the work I’m good at doing.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve where it’s needed. Just make sure you allocate your time, energy, and resources in a way that will give you the greatest return. I recommend spending 80% of your time on your strengths and 20% on your weaknesses. As you do, I bet you’ll see your weaknesses become less of an issue for your success.