Why Working On Your Weaknesses Is a Waste of Time (But Knowing Them Isn't)

catalysts instinct strengths weaknesses

Our weaknesses.  Ugh. NOT a pleasant topic... just thinking about my own makes my energy go straight into the toilet.

It seems like "fixing our flaws" is the way to go, doesn't it?  Trying to be a better person by changing that which is the worst in us is really a great idea, right? 

I don't think so, actually.  I think we become a better person, a better leader, a better entrepreneur...when we do the opposite: when we do even more of what already makes us great.

What Makes You Uniquely Awesome?

I've been asked, many times, what has been the single biggest thing that catapulted my business and income over the last several years, especially since much of the growth happened during and after my being diagnosed with a rare lung disease.

For so many years in work and business, I had no idea what would make me stand out, as a success (or even as a failure) from other people.  What I ended up learning was much like the journey of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz - I started off naive, was bruised, battered and scared along the way...picked up some great friends, mentors, and allies...and then learned.

"You've always had the power, my dear..."

It's funny, because just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I had the power to know the answer to making the difference all along...I just needed to find it.

But here it is: what happened is that I spend a lot of time focusing on the things that make me unique compared to others, working on my strengths, and doing things to either compensate for or forget about the "weaknesses" I have (which I've discovered really aren't...but that's for later.) I focused on how I could, personally, make a positive impact on others.

I also spend a lot of time teaching this to others.  And it has made all the difference in the world - physically, mentally, emotionally ... and ultimately, also to my financial bottom line. 

Have You Really Spent The Time To Know Yourself?

I honestly feel like we go through life in a bit of a fog.  Doing the things we do, day in and day out, without really knowing why or having a specific purpose.  It can be like being caught up in a river - you go where it takes you.  Taking the TIME to understand what makes us unique, our innate strengths, is not something that ever happens.

Even when you do take "personality tests" - what happens? You look at them, think they're pretty cool...and then promptly forget about them.

The tests that are out there are actually meant to be tools. But just like any other tool, if you don't use it, it's useless.

Think about it, though: if you don't spend the time to get to know yourself and what makes you uniquely awesome, how will you ever have the confidence, the impact, the ability to make things better for yourself and others?

Quit Working On Your Weaknesses

Now, I do believe that you need to understand, fundamentally, what your "weaknesses" are - not so you can change them, but so that you can build powerful teams of people around you to pick up where you leave off. (No, I'm not advocating that if you're a jerk, that it's ok.  I'm talking about energetically allowing others to operate in their zone of genius, when it isn't yours!)

Success and happiness isn't about working on your weaknesses.  I'm serious.  When you discover the things that make you unique, your innate strengths and purpose, and then you work on that is when success comes.  Now, I am talking about both personal, internal success - what we think of as happiness and contentment - and outward success - the perception of others. 

This has been the single biggest thing that transformed my life. I only regret I didn't learn it earlier.

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