Play To Your Strengths

Every person is a combination of strengths and weaknesses. We’re only human and so we usually spend far too much time worrying about our shortcomings and too little time leveraging our strengths.

That’s hardly a positive approach. Owning a business is stressful at the best of times, and we should do all we can to reduce our quantum of worries so we can better cope with the demands and responsibilities of management.

If you start leveraging your strengths you’ll find you have a lot more time and energy to deal with issues in your life. You’ll be doing the opposite of worrying and just like the song says: “Accentuate the positives, eliminate the negatives”.

Start by working out what your strengths really are. Make your own appraisal of your talents. What sort of thing do you do best? Look back on all your successes and remember what made you successful in each case.

What do you really love doing? What kind of projects gives you a lot of pleasure? This is the type of work you should be doing because you’ll do it well and it will make you a happier person.

What do others ask you to do for them? You could be really good with computers, or at fixing broken appliances. You might not even think much about what you do to help other people but chances are pretty good you’re seen as an ‘expert’ at something.

Ask your friends and family what they think you’re good at. After the usual banter you may be surprised to find they think you’re good at a lot more than you ever knew.

Now use your imagination to come up with things you know you could do if you just took the time or had the opportunity to do them. Whether it’s something in sport like the perfect ‘300’ game of bowling or perhaps playing championship chess, there are always options we just haven’t tried – yet.

Think about the jobs others have that you feel sure you could do equally well. It could be the head of your local chamber of commerce, or perhaps the CEO of a large manufacturing company. If you can imagine yourself in those roles it’s another guide to what you enjoy doing.

And on the flip side!

There’s another side to this process that’s not as much fun but just as essential, and that’s finding out what you don’t do well. Those same friends and family who told you what you’re good at doing can also tell you what don’t do very well. No matter how distasteful this may be, it’s the kind of information you have to know.

Ask yourself what are the areas where you’ve performed consistently poorly. Identify where your best efforts have achieved the least and where your frustrations led to failure.

If you persist at trying to do something that you can’t do well you’re wasting your time and energy in a fruitless cause. It’s far more practical to base your activities on your strengths and not your weaknesses.

Now it’s time to apply what you’ve learned. Remember that nobody’s good at everything. Get rid of the responsibility for doing something you don’t do well by either having somebody else do it or letting technology handle it instead of you.

Most business owners wear many hats – too many, usually. It could be time to consider handing over a hat or two to an outside contractor or even adding a part-time team member to take over functions you’re not handling well.

You might even be able to find somebody whose strengths and weaknesses complement yours – they do well what you don’t, and vice versa. What a team you’d make!

From this point onwards make a decision to focus on your positives and base what you do in business on what you are best at doing. You’ll have a higher success rate in everything you do and won’t be dragged down by failure because you’ve minimized your chance of meeting it again.

Article courtesy of RAN ONE: http://www.ranone.com/features/news.asp?ID=3976