We have got it so wrong. In recent years we have become obsessed with improvement. Experts keep selling the message that if you have a weakness, strengthen it. If you have a flaw, fix it. The idea is to change yourself to become the perfect person, the perfect manager or the perfect entrepreneur.
Well there is no such thing as a perfect person!
This obsession places immense pressure on a person. By following this advice you find yourself fighting an uphill battle, struggling to succeed and losing a sense of who you really are.
If you really want to be a success whether it is in life, at work or running your own business then you need to focus on your strengths.
Why focussing on your weaknesses sabotages your success
When you worry about the things that you don’t do well it eats away at your self-confidence. It can make you feel frustrated and like you are just not good enough. This kicks off a negative thinking cycle which in turn impacts the decisions you make and your behaviour.
When you lack self-confidence and believe you are not good enough, you start to put in less effort into building your career. After all why bother if you are bound to fail anyway?
Just because you are not good at numbers, struggle with networking or aren’t good with planning does not make you less capable of achieving success. Accept the fact that these activities are not your core strengths and that’s ok. Don’t let your worry destroy your self-confidence and sabotage your chances of success. You cannot expect to be good at everything you do.
Confidence is king
Self-confidence is key to achieving success in your career and the way to develop your self-confidence is by learning to play to your strengths. When you focus on what you do well, on your interests and passions you find success much easier to achieve. Excelling at something strokes your ego and makes you feel happier and more confident.
It is this positive energy, and mindset, that motivates you to do more and find the way and will to succeed.
Identifying your strengths
You probably have strengths that you aren’t even aware of that you could be exploiting. Often our best strengths are the ones we take for granted and therefore discount. To identify the strengths to harness, to achieve a successful and fulfilling career, identify:
Your natural talents
Everyone has natural talents, things they do with ease. It could be literally anything from being organised, talking to strangers, writing, being creative or problem-solving. If you find certain activities easy to do then you are naturally talented at it.
Once you have listed all your talents figure out if it is something that you enjoy doing, and if it is identify how can you exploit it to achieve career success. The talents you decide to exploit should give you energy and not deplete it.
Your interests and passions
Your interest and passions stir your curiosity, making you want to learn more and do more. Actively pursuing your interests and passions increases your flow of positive energy. Learning is easier and less of chore when you are interested in the subject matter.
Identify your interests and passions you want to see in your career and then figure out how you can make it happen. For instance you may be passionate about aeronautics. This doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a pilot, but could mean pursuing a job in the aviation industry.
Your learned skills
Learned skills are those activities that you have learnt to do, and are probably quite good at, but they neither increase nor deplete your energy. These skills can be used to enhance your career but should not be the main driving force.
For instance you may be good with numbers but they don’t make your heart sing. Think about how you can use this skill to enable you to achieve your passion or interest.
The key to stop hurting your career and actually enjoy the work you do is to build on your strengths and focus on the activities that give you energy not deplete it. So sit down, write a list and figure out how to exploit your strengths so that you can find career success.