"No, I don't want to improve on a weakness, I'm going to work on my strengths instead."
See how that response goes over at your next performance review or parent-teacher conference.
Since our school age days, we’ve been taught by the most well-intentioned of teachers that we should focus on our weaknesses and work to turn them into strengths.
But what happens when we’re busy focusing on weaknesses? We lose sight of our strengths.
If your weaknesses don’t serve you – ignore them and work with people who are strong in your weak spots.
What you focus on expands.
Do you want to expand your weaknesses? I think not.
Do you know how many times I’ve sat across from a manager or a boss, who held the keys to a promotion, more money, or access to good projects, and they’ve said things to me like:
- You need to diversify
- Picking up this skill would make you more well-rounded
- You can’t focus on just these few skills
The skills they were talking about – were all on the opposite end of my strengths. Work that dulls my shine and makes me want to throw up while tweezing my eyelashes.
This isn’t about shying away from a challenge or stretching your skills – it’s about staying clear on the ones that light you up, and will serve your work.
After spending too many years awkwardly trying to get good at things I didn’t care about – I said, “screw this!”
Instead of focusing on my weaknesses, I now ONLY focus on my strengths.
Do you know what happens when you pick up a heavier dumbbell and work your already strong bicep? A stronger bicep.
Focusing on your strengths helps you become unstoppable.
Writing and editing are my jam. Especially when it comes to making something fussy sound simple or something boring sound fun. Making things that no one wants to read—readable.
This meant I’ve turned town opportunities to get good at speaking – I’m good enough, for now. I turned down learning how to do visual design. It feels tedious and I’d rather paint instead. And I’ll hire a visual designer.
Spending hours to figure out the code on my website? Nope. I’m better off helping someone write the words on theirs and hiring an expert that can do in 3 seconds what would take me 3 hours.
What happened when I focused on my strengths instead?
Basically, no matter the “stretch” task I was focused on. I always wished I was writing or editing instead.
Because I said no to learning tech, becoming an Excel whiz, becoming a project manager or more “well-rounded” - I grew my copywriting skills, spiffed up my ruthless editing talents, published a book and helped someone else publish theirs, helped hundreds of blog posts get noticed, then I got noticed – for my writing.
Do you want to be round? Or edgy?
Some things should be round – boobs, butts, baseballs. Would you rather be kinda-sorta good at 50 things? Or kick-ass amazing at just 5 hand-picked things? Have an edge at just a few things you're laser-focused on.
Those five skills don’t necessarily need to be related to each other anyway, but they should feel good when you’re working on them.
The more I focus on how I can become a better writer and editor for my copywriting clients, how I can help an entrepreneur tell their story better than they could themselves, the more I can shut my brain off and pick up on the unique qualities that make a product unique, I can sell them like no other.
When you focus on your strengths, you’re giving others the time and brain space to make their strengths stronger. We’re stronger together this way.