Should You Focus on Your Strengths or Improve on Your Weaknesses?john
I am often asked if someone should spend time improving on their weaknesses or rather devote that time to honing and sharpening their strengths. The advice that I usually give to this question is that if your weaknesses are a detriment to you career and holding you back, then you should definitely look at improving upon them.
However here is another alternative which I much prefer which has helped many of my clients and it goes like this…
Each day when you awaken, you have what I call 3 buckets of energy:
And during the day we deplete some or all of these buckets, depending on the activities we have done during the day which we usually recharge when we sleep at night. In other words, each day we have a finite amount of energy. Now here is the question; do you spend your time and energy focusing on activities and task that you don’t do to well in (your weaknesses), which is what we don’t typically enjoy or instead spend time doing activities that take advantage of our strengths which is usually doing things we really like to do?
Here’s an example. An Olympic 100 meter sprinter spends massive amounts of energy and time being the best they can be at one thing usually – the 100 meter sprints. You don’t often see them devoting their time to long jump, shot put or a marathon. In other words they become niche and excel at it.
You see, if you spend your time and the buckets of energy trying to improve on your weaknesses, you potentially end up being mediocre at a number of things or at worst case, bad at a lot of things. In other words you could end up being a jack of all trades and master of none and if you are trying to build a career, it could seriously delay your progress.
There are numerous advantages when you get to work on daily activities in your role that takes advantage of your strengths. Doing things you are good at (because they are a strength) increases your self-confidence and produces greater job satisfaction, allowing you feel better engaged in your role and in the company. It allows you to further sharpen your skills enabling you to narrow your focus and become niche.
I believe it is better therefore to become excellent at a few things, sharpen those skills and then get known for those skills by building your brand around those strengths. As they say, life is short, so wouldn’t you rather spend your day using your key strengths in activities that you love doing rather that trying to fix your weaknesses on activities that you probably don’t enjoy doing anyway.