I have been considering my areas of weakness lately and asking why I’ve let the feeling of incompetence get in the way of progress?
My standard response to anyone engaging in conversation about technology is “Don't ask me, I’m a complete technophobe”. The reality is that I can and do, use technology every day. I work on a Mac, and I use an iPad and an iPhone continuously, I even manage to engage in a whole range of social media posts. Despite that, I’d decided that technology was my Achilles heel and that’s the frame of mind I had every time I tried to do something new on my laptop.
It’s not a strength I know that. Working with people on the other hand, I can do that. I understand why people don't always do what you want them to, but I can’t comprehend why my mac book doesn’t always respond to my commands, or give me the answer I need! I mean, come on, look at my face, does it look like I know what I’m doing? So the fight continued Go on more courses, persevere, try harder, put more hours in and get it right.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who has felt that working on and developing your areas of weakness was the best way to improve your performance and get stuff done. But now? Now I’ve had a change of heart. Sod those weaknesses, who cares if I can’t write code or use every single gadget on the market? Someone else can, and if I really need that, I’ll go and find one of those people. I know where my strengths lay, I’m good at building connections, so that’s what I need to work with, using that skill to get the outcome I want, instead of freaking out about how hard everything is.
I talk to people all the time about their strengths, I tell them what I see as their gift, but the most common response with “yeah I guess but I really need to work on …”
While I was at school it was pretty obvious where my weaknesses were, and when I began my career, annual appraisals focused on areas of improvement. I don’t remember too many times being encouraged to use my strengths to solve the problem, or get to the end result. Wow, it’s hard work to be continually working from a place disapproval and inadequacy.
What do I do now? – I made a shift in my thinking – I focus on what I can do, what I already do well and how that will help me achieve my goal? I’m developing my Growth Mind-Set.
One of my strengths is being able to make connections between things, and people. This really helps someone who struggles to find an alternative response to a problem they’ve been facing for a while. We waste too much time coming at it from a place of negativity and forget to see where we add value.
I challenge you to recognise one of your strengths and use it differently. If you are great at analysing and gathering data but not so hot on making light conversation in groups, look at is from the perspective of how that group can give you information you can use, if you involve yourself in a conversation with someone new, what will you learn?
We should stop fighting against what is not naturally good for us; you don’t need to be good at everything, that’s why we are all different. Soak up your strengths, embrace them, give them energy and life, and not worry about the hard stuff. There’s always a more fun way to get to your end goal.
Written by Viki Johnston, a Brit, who recently moved to Southern California with her family, is a self-confessed learning junkie. Having flunked out of school at 16, she spent the next 30 (cough) years trying to figure out why learning stuff is so hard. She made it her mission to help others believe in their abilities and achieve more than they thought possible. Now through her coaching and business focused training she helps others to experience the “light bulb moment” and strive to greatness.
Her heroes are Sir Richard Branson and Brené Brown for their inspiration, and her Husband, whom without she would never have been able to live a life full of her own “light bulb moments”.