In what feels like ages ago, I led a corporate life. Meetings, cubicles, blackberries (the smartphone kind, not the fruity kind), stifling tan walls, repetitive processes…
The 9-to-5 can get a lot of flak (especially online, where you’ll find oodles of articles from creatives who naturally shudder at being so boxed in), but it wasn’t completely dreary. I met amazing people who became my mentors. One of them opened my mind to the power of working to your strengths.
What a mind shift!
Years of formal education and annual performance reviews had instilled this ridiculous notion that in order to be “good” at what I do, I couldn’t be “bad”… at anything. This focus on improving weaknesses is rooted in the belief that fixing “faults” creates the perfect, well-rounded, complete package. Except we all know that isn’t how this story ends. People aren’t Swiss army knives, and the world would be a truly boring place if we were all well-rounded soldiers.
Instead, I invite you to imagine what life would be like if we all were given the opportunity to use our natural talents to do what we love for causes we’re passionate about.
People are energized when they work to their strengths. They’re more fulfilled, happier, and infectious. If you’re an entrepreneur, this isn’t news to you. It’s why you launched your business, and it’s why you’re motivated to a path to success.
And, at some point, you’ll inevitably find yourself overwhelmed and spending more and more time away from the things you love about your business. You may even consider turning clients away because you have too much on your plate. The unfortunate side effect of being a successful solopreneur is that your business doesn’t run itself.
When you find yourself drowning in tasks that pull you away from what you want to be doing, you may be inclined to look for ways to improve your productivity by “fixing” your weaknesses. Instead, sit down and reconnect from a positive source: your strengths. Write down everything that you do for your business. Now, highlight the tasks that you, personally, have to do. Next, highlight anything you enjoy doing. What’s left is a list of tasks to delegate.
When you hire an employee or outsource to a contractor or virtual assistant, you’re not admitting weakness. You’re simply handing those tasks over to someone who excels at them, so everyone is operating optimally and loving what they do. Instead of building a well-rounded you, you’re building a well-rounded team.
Using your strengths every day, empowering other women to do the same, and making a living while doing it? That’s pretty incredible.
If you want to read more on discovering and using your strengths, check out the authors Marcus Buckingham and Tom Rath.
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