Strengths and Weaknesses (and proper attribution)

Six months ago, I wrote a post about what strengths are and what weaknesses are—and how we all often mislabel these things. 

Speaking of mislabeling—it turns out that the person in the video I had watched (and couldn’t find anywhere) was actually Marcus Buckingham and not Bing Gordon. No wonder I couldn't find the video!

What I find revelatory in Buckingham's message is this: We think our strengths are what we're good at (these thing we're good at are also known as our skills), and our weaknesses are what we're not good at.

BUT... if we view our strengths as “what strengthens us” and our weaknesses as “what makes us weaker, what drags us down,” our lives—and our self-worth—may change drastically.

When we learn new things, it’s easiest to get better and grow more knowledge in areas we are already good at. It's hardest to get better and grow more in areas where we already struggle.

When you are looking at your strengths and weaknesses and considering where to put your attention, your first instinct might very well be to work on your weaknesses and allow your strengths to stay where they are. (This is the theory behind using terms like “areas of challenge” or “opportunities for growth” to mean “things you're not very good at.”) 

But keep in mind that you might just thrive by focusing mostly on your strengths, and calmly dealing with the challenges that come your way in the areas where you’re weakest. Follow the arrow down the path of your strengths, and get yourself to a newer, more successful feeling place.

When you live by the idea that focusing on your strengths will actually lead to greater effectiveness, greater impact, and greater feelings of success, everything can get that much easier—even dealing with those weaknesses.

Escape Your Own Prison

“What Work Is,” by Philip Levine (1928-2015)