What we have here my friend are your strengths and over here, are what we call your “development opportunities”. Does that sound like a Tui billboard to you? It’s starting to for me. Feedback surveys, personality profiles, our own development assessments all mention our development opportunities. What they’re talking about of course are our weaknesses.
Strength-bases approaches to life have been around a while. I’m reading Marcus Buckingham’s book Go put your strengths to work (actually I’m listening to the audio book in the car – please don’t interupt me on my handsfree when I’m into it!). Getting this book was one of those random acts while passing near the public library that has tied a lot of my thinking of recent times together nicely. Thanks Marcus.
- When I have encouraged my sons to go with their passion at school, it is because I truly believe that whatever your career, if you’re doing what you are passionate about then you will be happy. Happiness is a reason to exist.
- When I go through numbers quickly “cos I can” but feel nothing, it’s a skill, but there’s no passion, so it’s not a strength. I do it as a necessity but that’s all.
- I believe I know a little bit about facilitation and I enjoy it. In fact, I’m what you might call “in the groove” when I’m facilitating. That’s got to be a strength (you be the judge of course on that one – I might be the only one in the groove).
Buckingham says that to be a strength you need skill, a talent and …. passion …. for it to be a strength. Are you good at something that doesn’t spin your wheels? Forget it, it’s not a strength. It’s a drudgery, and the worst sort because people keep asking you to do it.
So are weaknesses back in fashion? I think that they are. Front up to them because trying to improve them will distract you from the exponential gains in exerting the same effort to your strengths. And your weaknesses will be someone else’s strengths. So I”m looking forward to next weeks Authentic Leadership Course where I’m sure I’ll be in the groove.
Work on your strengths and become a world-beater. That’s a great way to fashion your life.
ps was looking for a “fashion” photograph and found this little cracker of Mum and us kids – I’m sure Dad was taking the photo. I’m making the fashion statement in yellow.