How sticking to your strengths is stalling the growth of your business

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It’s undeniable we have become completely obsessed with understanding and utilising strengths in our work, which coincidentally, are generally the things we tend to enjoy. While we’re all busy learning and honing our strengths and aligning ourselves to the parts of our business that most benefit from these (this is usually ‘doing the do’), we’re often leaving the other crucial parts of our business by the wayside meaning our results suffer. Whilst strengths undoubtedly play an important role in our success and there's many ways we can utilise these in the growth of our business, there's another fundamental piece that business owners are missing.

You see, business and entrepreneurship will force you to learn and take on skills and roles you never dreamed possible. While your strengths play a key role in the success of your business, it’s your weaknesses that hold the key to taking your business where you want it to go. This is because your strengths will only take your business so far before a period of growth and development is required. Yet, we tend to underappreciate our weaknesses, in some cases going to extraordinary lengths to avoid and ignore them, instead of pinpointing which weaknesses we need to develop at any given time.

Of course, not all weaknesses require development. There are some that can be outsourced and situations where that’s entirely appropriate. However, if we drill down into what weaknesses are at their core, they are underdeveloped skills and abilities that given dutiful care, attention, patience and practice, could well become strengths in the future. If this were not the case, learning would be impossible.

When unpacking the definition of a ‘strength’ in the context of skills and ability, it refers to your assets, your talents, the ones that come ‘naturally’ to you - which when you break it down, probably feel more natural to you because you’ve utilised them and refined them multiple times over the course of your existence purely through favouring them. Of course, we all have preferences and tendencies, that’s undeniable, yet we tend to pay less attention to those that are preventing us from solving the problems we’re experiencing in favour of those that reinforce how talented we are. It's possible to be talented and still experience problems, learn and develop.

Humans are biologically programmed to favour that which feels good and we demonstrate this in many ways, even in the language we use. From re-framing ‘problems’ to ‘opportunities’, ‘failure’ to ‘feedback’ and ‘weaknesses’ to ‘development points,’ we are again avoiding the opportunity that solving problems, learning through failure and developing our weaknesses presents for us. Becoming truly comfortable with the important role these elements play in the evolution of the human condition is necessary and powerful for your journey in business.

Our preferences and tendencies to feel good also span across all other aspects of our lives, from relationships, to hobbies, to careers. We will even go as far as adapting our lives, mapping our habits, routines, relationships and businesses to accommodate our strengths, without understanding the limits this puts on us. Take for example, a couple who are opposites who become frustrated at the way their relationship highlights their deficiencies, instead of valuing the opportunity for evolution it offers to each partner.

With all of this in mind, we begin to realise that the success we are searching for is on the other side of the growth that happens when we stretch ourselves beyond our strengths, which in themselves, can become almost like self-imposed barriers.

In other words, the very way to success is through developing your weaknesses.

You read that correctly.

The weaknesses that need to be developed at any given time, will depend on the problems you’re experiencing in your business.

Let’s look at an example to demonstrate this by taking a business owner whose strengths lie in their technical ability, rather than their people managing skills. Suddenly, they are thrust into a position where they are required to lead, manage and motivate a team. What does this highlight? Their weaknesses. What’s the very way to success? Developing these weaknesses.

This leader can learn and develop the skills to help them effectively manage people, if they are willing and committed to doing so.

Does this mean we should completely discount our strengths? No, not at all. Your strengths will continue to play an important role in who you are and what you achieve in life. You will continue to develop them and likely develop new ones, just like a bodybuilder builds muscle. It’s the combination of your strengths and developing your weaknesses into strengths that will take you to a new level for those who are prepared to stay the distance and implement the strategies that work for them.

If you’re out there staring at your strengths wondering why you are failing, turn instead to your weaknesses. That’s where the missing pieces to your puzzle will be. Tackling them won’t be easy, but nothing worth having ever is. If you need any further help, please feel feel free to get in touch so we can discuss how together we can achieve real results in your business. 

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Shevonne Joyce