How many times have you caught yourself trying to blame everyone and everything else for your shortcomings, when in reality, you just couldn’t sum up the courage to face your weaknesses head on? In order to fulfill our goals, we don’t need to “conquer the world” and be better than everyone else. All we have to do is master ourselves and work on becoming the best version of ourselves by overcoming our weaknesses.
In working towards self-improvement, we often turn to finding inspiration in others who have made it. There is something comforting in knowing that today’s leaders in their niche were once a work-in-progress just like ourselves with many personal obstacles and struggles to face.
Looking at Richard Branson’s life right now, it may seem like he is one of those lucky ones who made it in the tough world of entrepreneurial competition, yet you would be surprised to hear the personal struggle he went through to get there. And the only competition he faced was himself.
With disabilities such as dyslexia, shyness, lack of academic education and experience, Richard Branson could have decided to give up and give in to his weaknesses, but he decided to persevere in his fight for self-betterment, and that’s what has made him the man he is now.
Let’s take a look at Richard Branson’s formula for success and how he has used his weaknesses to his advantage to make himself stronger.
Starting a career can seem daunting for most people and a lack of experience can make any goal seem unattainable. Starting out in the publishing business, Richard Branson didn’t have much experience. However, instead of letting his lack of experience stop him, he found a way to shift the focus on the goal and learned and improved himself along the way.
Rather than being paralyzed by fear of the new, you have to keep in mind that dreams are realized by action. If you don’t set your bar high you will never know how far you can go. Therefore, before giving up, dare to dream big and work on yourself in the process.
Surround yourself with the best people
Believing we are alone and that we have to do all the work ourselves in order to be successful won’t get us nowhere. This is something Richard Branson realized early on. In order to achieve your goals, you need to know what you are best at and to focus your energy on that, leaving other experts to do the rest. Not having advanced computer skills, Branson realized that he should assign those tasks to people much more qualified for it thus building an amazing team of experts. Without losing time or energy feeling bad about ourselves for not having certain skills, we should rather focus on cultivating our talents and work on teaming up with other exquisite individuals to uplift and complement us.
Make your own way
Another excuse people make for not living up to their potential is their inability to follow through with formal education. Most would just give up thinking they were not meant to achieve great things in life and surrender to a mediocre life full of regrets. Not Richard Branson. After quitting school he realized that he wasn’t feeling comfortable following someone else’s rules, so he made his own. He was brave enough to follow his passion and find work that felt meaningful to him. The success that followed came as no surprise.
This particular story from Branson’s life is probably the most powerful one since it speaks of great things being achieved through shedding new light on one’s weaknesses and transforming them, so, in order to truly live your dreams, you must embrace your weaknesses and turn them into your most powerful assets.
Learn by actively listening
If the listed challenges weren’t enough, Branson had to struggle with dyslexia as well, which makes perfect excuse for many to quit studying. Once again, he rose above it by using it to his advantage. Branson started cultivating his listening abilities instead, which was of tremendous importance to his career. Firstly, it gave him the opportunity to really hear the needs of customers which benefited his businesses greatly. Additionally, he learned how to dissect the information he was receiving from others by taking only advice he considered good and learning the rest on his own.
There is always a way to make the best of our flaws only if we stop regarding them as such and make them work in our favor.
How to fail
So often, when thinking about successful people’s careers, we tend to focus on finished products of their struggle and ignore the many failures they encountered. That is why so many of us give up trying after the first fiasco feeling disappointed with ourselves. Yet, we should remember that failures are our best teachers, as they ultimately lead us to success as Branson himself has learned through many such experiences.
Even he has had failures, but he learned early on that they are part of the journey and that we should take our time and learn our lessons to build ourselves up and be stronger than ever.
In order to avoid stress from trying to juggle work and fun that many people are facing today, we could take Branson’s advice and make both equally enjoyable.
The trick is to choose the profession we are passionate about. Then we would gradually lose the line between work and play as both become fun and make us feel great. Additionally, by doing the work we enjoy, our confidence level increases making us more eager to face our weaknesses. Branson has set great example for all of us by finding creative ways to overcome shyness and fear of public speaking. He learned how to make it more fun and natural by imagining he was speaking to a friend. Branson decided once again to not let his shortcomings stand between him and his dreams teaching us that anything is possible when we start embracing our personal weaknesses and realize they are actually our best motivators.
Featured photo credit: kris krüg via flickr.com