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Last Updated on March 10, 2022

Why Is It Important to Focus on Your Strengths?

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Why Is It Important to Focus on Your Strengths?

Are you achieving the results you want from everything you do?

If not, maybe it’s time to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you focusing on the right things?
  • Is your energy and focus divided? Do you know what your strengths are?

One of the many lessons I have learnt over the years is that focusing on too many things at once will not enable you to achieve your best results. But even more important than that is to ensure that your focus is on what you do best, this is when you will do your best work and get your best results.

Why Is It Important to Focus on Your Strengths?

To be successful, you must resist the urge to focus on deficits and start capitalizing on your strengths.

Constructive feedback and a critical eye are great, but many of us spend too much time beating ourselves up over our faults. We need a paradigm shift. Concerning ourselves only with weaknesses breeds more weakness. Compulsive fault-finding is not an efficient self-improvement strategy.

Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology says that for a person to be truly happy and live a meaningful life, that person must recognize their personal strengths and use these strengths for the greater good.

If we are to take Seligman’s advice, we should spend time trying to figure out our personal strengths and not waste our valuable time and life doing jobs that don’t please us and take us away from doing what we were made to do. If this is the secret of happiness, shouldn’t we all be focusing on our strengths and not wasting time with all the other bits?

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Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle shows how filtering what you focus on can help towards more success. The Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule is widely recognized as a principle which holds true in many facets of life. Sales executives use it to identify their important customers. They know that 20% of their customers give them 80% of their revenue and that 20% of their products will also give them 80% of the revenue. The clever know that once they identify that 20% they should focus their attention on that 20%. In this way results will be achieved more quickly and effectively.

If you focus most of your energy and attention on the important customers, this well reap rewards for your bank balance. Your good customers will become great customers. If you apply this principle to your whole life, if you were to focus solely on what you do best just imagine the results. If you were to stop doing the work that doesn’t add value, the work that someone else could do for you. By directly all your energy on your strengths, this will surely get your the results you aim for more quickly.

Retrain Your Perspective on Yourself With the SWOT Analysis

Instead of spending time criticizing yourself, try to take an objective approach to understanding your personal journey. Performing a SWOT Analysis is a great way to retrain the way you think about yourself.[1]

  • S – Strengths. List areas in which you excel. What types of work do you find most rewarding, and what training do you have? If you are not sure about this, think about the types of things that others often ask you to do.
  • W – Weaknesses. What types of work do you dread doing? Are there things that you consistently avoid or put off until the last minute? Take note of training and skill deficiencies that you may have.
  • O – Opportunities. Name specific ways that you can work to grow. Do you have access to professional help? Can you take courses or get training to make your strengths stand out and overcome your weaknesses?
  • T – Threats. Insecurities, physical and mental health, and external forces such as cash flow can threaten your ability to focus and become the best version of yourself.

We all need to take stock of where we are in order to achieve success. Personal SWOT analysis can help us do that without becoming so bogged down in our weaknesses that we forget about all the great things we can do. Below is an example of how a personal SWOT analysis might look for an individual trying to land freelance marketing jobs.

Why Is It Important to Focus on Your Strengths?

    By identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, our imaginary marketer can apply this knowledge to self-improvement and focus on his or her assets while maintaining realistic expectations. Notice that this person’s opportunities didn’t only include possible solutions to weaknesses, but also capitalized on strengths.

    Develop a growth mindset and recognize that successful people are always striving for improvement.[2] You do have to consider weaknesses, but in some cases, you might be able to delegate tasks that aren’t your strong suit to other people. For example, our freelance marketer who is a whiz at design but awful with social media could learn to navigate various social media platforms. He or she could also outsource the social media work to another person and focus solely on design.

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    If you take a myopic approach to your life and focus only on weakness, you will only grow in the areas where you have identified a problem. When too much of your focus goes toward problems, you cripple your ability to fully make use of your strengths.

    For example, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has delighted fans from many countries around the world. J.K. Rowling, while brilliant, doesn’t speak all 68 languages into which her work has been translated.[3] It wouldn’t be a good use of her time to try to learn all those languages either. It is much more efficient for her to focus on the craft of writing and outsource the translations to many different translators.

    Of course, being multi-lingual is an excellent skill, and you shouldn’t be afraid to learn new things. It’s just that sometimes that cost of the skill you need to learn is too high to make it beneficial for you to learn it. Let someone else use their strengths in concert with your own so that you can both be happier and more productive.

    How to Maximize Your Strengths

    Being successful is about working smarter. Here’re 5 things you can do:

    1. Identify the things that you want to achieve.

    Set goals to define a path for yourself.[4]

    You have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. You decide that you would like to run your own business and break away from your 9 to 5 job in the next year.

    2. Figure out how your strengths can help you reach your goals.

    Those strengths that you defined with your SWOT analysis can serve as a road map for your future.

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    Perhaps you are a gifted metalworker. You do some research and decide that you should go into business making art from metal. You decide that in the next six months you’d like to pull together the resources to leave your job and be a blacksmith full-time.

    3. Focus on the skills that you need grow to develop your strengths.

    Instead of stressing out about the things you don’t do well, put most of your energy into refining your unique talents.[5]

    Starting your own metalworking business is going to require you to learn some new things. You’ll have to figure out where you can get materials to do this sort of work, and you’ll need to learn how to build up a client base. In addition to practicing your metalworking, you’ll have to spend some time networking. You have to do all of these things so that can afford to grow your metalworking skills.

    4. You may encounter obstacles along the way, and that’s when you know which weaknesses to work on first.

    Weaknesses that interfere with your ability to achieve your goals need to be tackled head-on. You might do this through acquiring new skill sets or finding a colleague with strengths in areas that challenge you.[6]

    Imagine that your business is doing so well that you have to file quarterly taxes. You balk at this because you don’t understand the tax code. Rather than waste time on taxes that you could spend crafting beautiful sculptures with your specialized skills, you hire a CPA. The CPA has a different set of specialized skills and knows how to make sure you comply with tax laws and get the maximum number of deductions.

    5. Always focus on enhancing your strengths.

    There are things that you can do better than anyone else. If you can find out what those things are, you can spend time working to make your best even better.[7]

    You are already excellent at working with one kind of metal. To enhance your strengths, you might practice with different materials or find a mentor who can teach you new techniques. In this case, not knowing how to work with certain types of metal isn’t really a weakness – it’s just untapped potential.

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    Don’t let yourself drown in deficiencies.

    When you dwell on the negative, you don’t give yourself a chance to shine. By becoming an asset-based thinker and appreciating your strengths, you can find success more easily. Instead of going down rabbit-holes to take on work that requires a specialist or beating yourself up over unchangeable aspects of your character, focus on maximizing your talents. Not only will you be more successful, but you’ll be a lot happier too.

    Success And Happiness Come From Positivity

    When you dwell on the negative, you don’t give yourself a chance to shine. By becoming an asset-based thinker and appreciating your strengths, you can find success more easily. Instead of going down rabbit-holes to take on work that requires a specialist or beating yourself up over unchangeable aspects of your character, focus on maximizing your talents. Not only will you be more successful, but you’ll be a lot happier too.

    Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of MindValley, says that “happiness is the new productivity”. Being in a state of flow or extreme creativity will magnify the impact of everything you do. You must have goals, but your happiness must not be tied to these goals. You must be happy in the now. You will never reach your highest success if you are not happy what you are doing. Do what makes you happy and your will create a state of flow which will bring to you everlasting success.

    So if you don’t already know, spend some time figuring out what your strengths are, what activity induces flow for you? When you know what activity it is, focus on it and do it to the best of your ability. Make sure you “only do what only you can do”, focus on your 20%, and let others do the 80% of the work that you don’t need to do. By doing this not only will you be more efficient, creative, and productive — you will be happier and more successful.

    Why Is It Important to Focus on Your Strengths?

      Featured photo credit: Tim Bogdanov via unsplash.com

      Reference

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      Ciara Conlon

      Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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