Shop Talk: Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

d: strengthsfinder

d: strengthsfinder

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

So, here’s a fun fact: The Google Doc for this Shop Talk idea was started in February — and all it had in it was the main idea (focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses), and the words “yogi tea” — Sara’s grocery list?

That’s fun, but here’s the ironic part: This idea was already in place before we read StrengthsFinder 2.0 (affiliate link) as part of #OWSBookClub. Clear proof that sometimes we subconsciously know things before we ever have a chance to put them in context.

Fun facts and ironies aside, one thing is very true of solopreneurs, and society in general, really: We focus on our weaknesses way more often than our strengths.

We buy courses to improve areas of our life/business that need honing. We join masterminds filled with people who know things we don’t. We read books on topics we think we should know more about.

Now, learning is all well and good (okay — it’s more than that — we love learning), but it’s the attitude we take toward learning that is a bit of a concern.

Tom Rath, author of StrengthsFinder 2.0, would argue that instead of attempting to better our weaknesses, we should capitalize on our strengths.

Said another way: Instead of targeting our learning toward the things we feel we should be better at, why not target our learning at the skills we already have?

For me, Sara, that might mean setting aside more time to focus on really diving into what I’m reading. (First strength from the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment: Achiever, with a description that includes really taking time to absorb and process what’s being read.)

For Cristina, that might mean finding resources that help her hone her analytical thinking. (Her first strength: Strategic.)

The point is this: We all have innate strengths that stand out. How would this world be different if we all focused on improving our strengths, and spent our time learning things we were genuinely interested in?

If it sounds like capitalizing on those strengths is really just taking the easy way out, it usually isn’t — because sometimes, despite being our strengths, they still might not necessarily be in our comfort zone.

There’s always room for improvement when it comes to our strengths. Start there. Your “weaknesses” can wait for another day.

PS: We had a lot of fun sharing our results on The Hot Seat. An interesting revelation: We could each have the same strength (i.e. Learner), but it manifests in very different ways from person-to-person.

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