What are you good at? … and I mean REALLY GOOD at?!
The ability to reach your potential and do what you are actually meant to do starts with understanding your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses.
It used to amaze me that most people don’t know their strengths and weaknesses, until I took a good long look in the mirror and realised at one time .. at that time! ... I was the same.
I find most people will hazard a guess at their strengths and declare them with ... a somewhat sheepish response.
When it comes to their weaknesses the majority of people I have spoken to (and I’ve spoken to a lot) have a hard time acknowledging their weaknesses, especially if you ask them to write them down and make a list. It takes real honesty with oneself to acknowledge our weaknesses verbally and/or in writing.
That whole processing in the mind thing is mostly a little voice inside our head that will continuously battle with you to justify every weakness you attempt to acknowledge through reflection … until you get truly conscious with yourself.
There is this thing lingering beneath the surface of the human awareness that suggests you need to be good at the stuff the people around you are good at. That’s crazy!
This thing is fed by different core psychological drives that vary from person to person. This thing is that same little voice.
For those people who are self afflicted with this, and that’s the majority, it causes them to be less productive and fall well short of their potential.
Let’s add some contrast.
In your home you expect a water pipe to be a water pipe and a tap (faucet) to be a tap. If the tap were a pipe the water would keep flowing and if the pipe were a tap no water would find its way from the mains. Same goes for electrical cables, wall sockets and switches. Each has its own unique purpose.
Humans are the same. What’s yours? … and be grateful there are millions of people out there who compliment you.
The simple truth is this. Everyone is good at a collection of things to some degree and then not as good at others. The clue here is figuring out your strengths and weaknesses, ideally both personally and professionally, and subsequently what are the areas where you have varying degrees of room for improvement.
Professionally you then have to assess them vis-a-vis a specific job.
For example, If I want to be a lawyer, there are specific groups of strengths I need and weaknesses that have no impact. If I want to be an bus driver, the strengths are different. If I want to be an AI developer, it's another group again.
Bottomline is you need to understand your own professional strengths and weaknesses and then align it with what is required of you to be able to do very well in order to be exceptional in your chosen profession. Same goes in the personal realm.
A simple human misconception is the notion that we can do it all ourselves. Ha!
Figuring out your strengths and weaknesses by yourself is not something you want to do let alone will be able to do effectively. We all have blind spots and out biggest blindspot is seeing what we are really good at and what we are really crap at.
The people who see you in action and watch you are the very people who can offer advice. Here’s the rub. Their advice is based on their observations and perceptions; their own programming.
Take said advice therefore as such and still avoid the natural bias to simply discard it because of that realisation.
On the one hand their advice is their subjective opinion base on their own experience and the stories they’ve made up about those experiences. On the other hand, subjectivity aside, they offer a lens, adjusted to a different focal point than yours, through which to view yourself.
Does any of this mean you ask random people who may see you regularly for an opinion? Well, you could and as far as very general stuff goes (with the occasional sprinkling of gold dust that could happen serendipitously) it can be helpful. For deeper access though you’ll want it to be from people who observe you in action and have the skills and experience to offer an opinion specific to whatever it is you are doing or seeking to achieve. After that, ideally, a coach or mentor would give you some focused advice on ways of being and doing, the techniques and tools for improving.
Unless you are open to listen and hear the kind of stuff you don't want to hear and unless you can avoid giving off energetically a vibration that you have no desire to hear feedback you’ll remain stuck in very close proximity to where you already are.
The three mistakes most people make is one or more of
- they don't truly understand their own personal and professional strengths and weaknesses,
- they are closed off to advice from others, and are unwilling to try on feedback on what they're really good at respectively what they are not good at, and
- they don't align their strengths, weaknesses nor the advice they receive to a specific professional or personal pursuit.
When I work with people I encourage them to have a systemisation mindset and create systems in their business and personal lives; and this is one of the foundational systems you need, asking for and gathering feedback then reflecting on it and acting on what is relevant after conscious reflection, since your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses are really the bedrock and building blocks of whatever you're here to do.