If you want to take your career to the next level, whatever that means in your specific situation, you might be thinking that you need to fix your weaknesses and make them disappear before you can expect to make any progress.
For example, say you'd like to become the Senior VP of Awesomeness, which comes with the responsibility of managing over 150 people. Right now you're a couple of steps away from that goal.
You know that you have a tendency to avoid conflict even when it's necessary, and you know that you tend to over-think decisions. Should you put all of your preparation energy into strengthening these areas?
I say no, and here's why.
When you focus on fixing your weaknesses, you're telling yourself that you can't move forward until you cross those off your list, as in "Whew - glad I conquered that whole 'conflict avoidance' thing and can get on with my life!"
But you're never going to cross those items off your list. Everyone has blind spots, skills that don't come so easily, and ways of being that are never going to change so awfully much. Setting out to eliminate your weaknesses is a losing strategy.
What should you do instead? Focus and build on your strengths.
Honing your strengths will attract the people and opportunities you're seeking. For example, in your quest to become Senior VP of Awesomeness, you would do well to build on your strengths of diplomacy, your ability to influence many different kinds of people, and your thorough knowledge of the industry.
You'll have more interest and motivation to pursue a plan of action where you play to your strengths than one where you are trying to eliminate your weaknesses.
Do you just let the weaknesses sit there unattended, wreaking havoc? Absolutely not. Learn, develop and practice better ways of engaging in conflict. Set a time limit for making certain kinds of decisions. But make building your strengths your primary focus.
Nobody's good at everything. Most of us are great at a few things. Spend as much of your time and energy developing what you're really great at, and you'll not only enjoy the journey but will arrive at your destination earlier.
I'd love to hear: How has playing to your strengths helped you in your career?
photo by Tambako the Jaguar