How Focusing On Your Strengths Can Take You From Good to Great
You know there are only 24 hours in any given day. You get to choose how you spend them. Of course, there are certain activities that must fit into those 24 hours, sleep being one of them. But, in your waking hours, you get to choose how those hours will be spent. So, why not spend them focusing on your strengths?
This past weekend we had a time change from Eastern Standard Time to Eastern Daylight Time. I love Daylight Savings Time. The days feel longer because the sun sets an hour later. Of course, the days are not actually longer because we always have only 24 hours a day, 1,440 minutes or … 86,400 seconds to make a difference, learn a skill, leave a legacy or just have fun!
Suppose you spend an hour focusing on a weakness. This is one less hour you get to spend focusing on your strengths.
It’s a concept known as opportunity costs. By making one choice, you forgo another opportunity. Therefore, it makes sense to spend the maximum number of hours available improving on and using your strengths.
It rarely makes sense to spend time on weaknesses. The only time to do that is if they are tasks you absolutely must do and they are holding you back from your goal. It is seldom wise to spend vast amounts of time trying to make them strengths. Consider this a self-improvement activity. It should be looked upon in a positive light unless it’s making you settle for good when great is possible.
The secular self-improvement world does not address human weakness though. It is something that you only usually find here. Our weaknesses exist to remind us that we need God. He wants us to rely on him in all matters.
Sometimes we get the feeling that, "I got this God. You can have the day off." Then we are quickly reminded that's a bad plan and we go back in prayer for help. God created us and knew we would be this way so He wanted us to remember He is our source. We need reminders. It is in our weakness that we can really see the magnitude of God's never-ending resources and give Him glory and praise.
When in your life have you reached the end of yourself, only to discover it was God who carried you to your solution?
Here is what the scripture says about weakness and true strength:
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
~ II Corinthians 12:9-10 (KJV)
Too often though, rather than having the above balanced view of weakness, people instead get hung up on their weaknesses to the point of obsession. This is not healthy. It may ultimately cause loss of faith and confidence in your source of strength. Everyone has weaknesses. Acknowledge the weakness, correct it when you can, then move on to your strengths.
Remember, you will always move in the direction of your focus. When you focus on your weakness, you will feel emotionally inadequate to meet your challenge. Instead, focusing on your strengths will remind you that you CAN do what needs to be done.
In the same way that you can think about improving upon your weaknesses, you can improve even further upon your strengths. When you are already as good as you can get at something, marked improvement may not be possible. But, for many it is possible to improve on the strengths you possess so that you can get even stronger with them.
Many people believed Billy Joel was an amazing piano player and then he took time off to get even better. Now, he is insanely good. What inspired him to do this?
Billy Joel had the opportunity to work with Ray Charles and after doing so, found his own skills to be inadequate in comparison.
Another way to focus on your strengths is to surround yourself with people who are better than you at those strengths. While these people may seem intimidating at first, you will naturally pick up aspects of those strengths just by being with them and trying to emulate what they are doing. Remember the Billy Joel/Ray Charles story I told you earlier?
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
~ Jim Rohn
Sometimes, you can bring old strengths back into the mix. Perhaps you changed careers earlier in life but you come across a situation where your old strengths can serve you.
This happened to me. In one of my previous businesses, I owned a home healthcare business and began writing an industry newsletter. Later, for over a decade, I published my city’s official, Cape Coral Magazine as well as a couple other periodicals.
Then, I went on to write books, curricula, articles and various digital publications along with the blog you are reading at this very moment. Learning in one industry allowed God to promote me to new arenas, where these skills were further amplified. Now, I am about to release the Second Edition of my book, Comprehensive Christian Coach Handbook, Essential Guide to Spirit-Led Coaching and Business Success.
I will let you know how to pre-order my book in the near future. It will be available on Amazon.com and other major outlets.
I encourage you to honor God with the gifts He has given you. There is no limit to how God can use you in the future.
Don’t be afraid to reintroduce previous strengths into the new career. You never know just how helpful those skills can be in your current situation. It can also give you a new perspective by using past experiences.
While you are at it, consider activities and causes you are passionate about. Do you possess hidden talents that should be cultivated? You won’t know until you try.
I would love to hear from you in the comments section below. Tell me about the skills you have cultivated by focusing on your strengths. In what new ways has God been able to use you as you increased your skills?
© 2017 by Leelo Bush, Ph.D., All rights reserved.
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