Remember those school days where we’d get worried about our results at the end of the semester? That moment when you look at it and you see a mixture of A’s and B’s, and C’s… And there you start thinking of the face of your parents and trying to come up with the best explanation you have ever pulled off. If your parents were like mine, then you would probably have been hearing this: “I can see some good notes here but we need to talk about those B’s and C’s!” What, really? I mean, out of 8 subjects I have scored 5 A’s and you want to focus on the others? There we go again!
We see this scenario everywhere, all the time simply because recognition is not somthing that we give easily. We have been moulded in a society that wants to make us better and better – which in itself is not a bad thing; but the focus tends to be on “weaknesses” rather than what we are great at. Somehow this has influenced us to constantly see what we are not great at. We follow trainings, courses or coaching to fill in the gaps. The truth is, if we are not good at something, we are probably never going to to become good at it.
“It takes far less energy to move from first-rate performance to excellence than it does to move from low competence to mediocrity.” – Peter Drucker
What Peter Drucker here says is very simple. You will spend so much time and effort to make that “C” or “D” in maths become an “A” but the best you can probably achieve is a “B”. If you managed to bring an “A” then couple of years or even months ahead, give algebra another go and see how much you still remember! We may gather some knowledge and understanding in some particular area that isn’t our forte but we will not be able to be absolutely great at it! However, use that same time and effort or even less by focusing and investing in what you are good at and see how your performance and confidence sky-rocket! You do not need much to be an expert in what you are already good at.
It all starts with knowing yourself.
What is your innate talent? Something that you natually do very well without having to put in much effort. Something that people always tell you – you are great at this! Picture this little girl of 5 years old who stands in front of this huge crowd and starts entertaining people by telling stories, singing and dancing. You’d look at her and think; “my gosh she’s only 5 and she looks so confident and she’s so good; I’m an adult and I can’t do half of this.” Yes she has an innate talent! As she grows up she keeps practicing and she ultimately develops strong public speaking skills. She starts to participate actively in debates and is always ready to speak in front of a audience. And over the years she masters all the tricks and tips of a great speaker and becomes an expert in this matter. She can now pass on the knowledge through mentoring as public speaking has become her competency. Similarly, we all have that one thing we are great at. We feel that we were born to do this. It takes time to turn talent into a competency but not much effort.
But what about weaknesses?
Have you heard people telling you that you are too much of something? My husband always tells me: “You are way too optimistic. Too positive. There can never be the end of the world for you. Everything is perfect!” Well this sounds pretty good to me. I mean posivity, optimism and perfect are great definitions for me! What he means is that, I tend to never ever see the glass half empty. I am not bothered to have a Plan B just in case things do not work out as planned because for me, everything will go just as planned. This is why sometimes I come across as adamant, stubborn and unrealistic and perceived as my weakness. That’s what happens when our strengths undergo an imbalance.
In fact, a weakness is a strength at its extreme.
We can easily judge a person with a weakness because this is what we have been trained to see – the loop holes, areas of improvements or the glitches. In fact, when we have a strength, we will naturally tend to manifest it more and more and if we do not give careful attention, we may be hitting it’s extreme, just like me! Self-awareness has helped me know when I am being overly optimistic and need to balance it out with some realistic considerations. At the end of the day, it’s not about your weaknesses but all about what you are great at and what you are less great at. Once you discover your strengths, remember to know the extremes of it and you will realise that you do not have weaknesses.
What are your strengths, and how are you using them? Are you using them?