Our current world starts in early with the notion that what we need most to do is fix our weaknesses. We “fix” our children’s behavior by teaching them better. We focus on improving our child’s D in Algebra, not on celebrating her A-level work in History and finding ways to further challenge and grow that strength.
But this mindset can lead to feelings of inadequacy, that we’re just not good enough, no matter how we excel elsewhere, if we have weaknesses at all. This mindset makes us anxious, saps our confidence in our genuine strengths, and diminishes our joy in our lives and our work.
It’s just not realistic to expect ourselves to be thoroughly competent, let alone to excel, in every possible area – we all have strengths, yes, but we all have weaknesses, too. That is called being human.
And while we do need to try to help our children do better in areas in which they lag, perhaps it’s wisest to consider doing this in tandem with celebrating the subjects they tackle more successfully and engaging with their strengths, too.
Because – and don’t we all already know this, deep down? – when we are working from a place of strength, a place of confidence and interest, we enjoy what we’re doing. We lose track of time as we delve into our subject; we take pride in our achievement. We feel we’ve accomplished something worthwhile.
When we’re tackling a subject which is less in tune with our natural abilities, we don’t enjoy ourselves nearly as much. Time drags, and the result is perhaps better than we might have managed a year ago, but it’s not our best work and doesn’t provide the same level of satisfaction in ourselves and our accomplishments.
This translates and transitions into the workplace – we strive to perform every task, complete every project at a level consistent with our very best work in the areas we are best at. That’s an impossible goal. I love goal-setting, but unrealistic goals are time-wasters.
The process of finding out what we do really well (i.e., where we should focus ourselves in order to be most successful) is one path to self-knowledge – and I’m all in favor of that.
If we are business owners, we already know what we do well. That’s why we delegate tasks not requiring our own focus to others. We don’t just build a team to enable our business to do more of the same work, but to find ways to do that work better. And to expand the types of work our business does best.
So, sauce for the owner is sauce for the team, too. Let’s choose our teams for a variety of strengths which complement and supplement not only our strengths, but one another’s.
Let’s make sure most of the work our time is spent on is what we do best, what we have an affinity for, what we’re passionate about. That our teams are arrayed, and their tasks and projects delegated, along those lines as well.
That’s a good recipe for a productive and satisfying work environment, with engaged, enthusiastic people focusing on the types of work that inspire them, that they are best suited for. Some will have incredible analytical and problem-solving skills; others may find joy in repetitive tasks which would drive you or me up a wall. Both of these are strengths – and both have their places.
How do you focus on your strengths, in work and in life? How is your office team arranged and supported in developing theirs?
Please click here to email me directly – I’d love to hear your strategies!
Until next Wednesday –