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One of the things that has stuck with me from my leadership class during the MBA program was the idea that we should focus on our strengths. Too often as people we want to minimize our weaknesses or get rid of them entirely. This is the wrong idea. If we focus on our weaknesses and mange to get them up to an average level, then what we have is a person who is mediocre in a lot of things but does not excel in any one thing.

Instead it is better to focus on maximizing our strengths and finding ways to use those strengths in such as way so that our weaknesses do not matter or can be handled in other ways. While nice in an abstract sort of way, looking on how this actually happens is a lot tricker, so let me get more into the details.

According to the Clifton Strengths Finder one of my strengths is Connectedness. One of my weakest however is Woo. Connectedness is the ability to see connections in all kinds of things, be it events, people, interests, etc. Woo on the other hand stands for winning others over and represents the ability of a person to meet new people and getting them to like you. In my personal rankings, Woo is 33 out of 34 strengths. Almost the very bottom of the list. Yet, if exercised properly, I could leverage the Connectedness strength to help me in my interactions with strangers. Instead of focusing on winning them over, if I focus on the connections we have in common by asking questions, focusing on them and what they are interested and their unique story I could accomplish much the same thing as a person with a high Woo ranking could, but instead by leveraging my strength in Connectedness.

If I were to focus my energy on Woo I would be working to overcome something that in the end would still feel awkward and unnatural to me.

So, focus on your strengths and find ways to expand them into areas and into situations where you would be naturally awkward or uncomfortable. In this way you can be an even stronger version of yourself.

Photo by Vicky Sim on Unsplash.