Whenever I go to business meetings, I hear of successful people who have made so much money in what seems to be in such a short period of time. They are talking about the great lifestyle they have, all the vacations they are going on, and all the debt they've paid off. Then I look at myself and think how I am NOWHERE NEAR where they are! I still have debt that is nowhere near being paid off!
Then these successful individuals tell their "secrets" at how they've been so successful. Many of them are go-getter types where they eat, sleep, and breathe success. They know what they want and would do all that it takes to get it. One particular speaker mentioned being willing to be "uncomfortable everyday."
Well, I'm not the go-getter type. And I'm pretty sure that I will NEVER be the go-getter type. I don't accept challenges, I don't try to prove anyone wrong, and I don't go after success as if it was going out of style.
But then I got my "A-Ha!" moment: these people used their strengths to get success while I'm trying to use my weakness to get the same success.
Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. However, a weakness doesn't have to be a bad thing just like a strength doesn't have to be a good thing. If you're good at making people feel bad, that's not good. If you're awful in being a confrontational person, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But you don't have to reduce your strengths in one area and you don't have to build on your weakness in another area.
Sometimes, a weakness is just that: a weakness. It's not good, it's not bad, it's just a weakness. Really, you don't have to call it a weakness. It's just not your specialty. It's not in your character. It's not your focus. You're not good at it. Call it whatever you want, but just know that a weakness is not necessarily a bad thing.
For instance, my wife and I run our own nutrition business. She knows VERY LITTLE about nutrition! Don't ask her to explain proteins and amino acids to you! And she has no shame in admitting that her knowledge in nutrition is extremely lacking. However, she's great in following up with individuals who take our nutritional products and plugging them into various events sponsored by our nutritional company.
Me? Well, when it comes to nutrition, health, and anatomy, you could call me the professor! I could explain any nutritional question you have -- and yes, I could explain amino acids to you in a way that a toddler could understand. However, when it comes to follow up and plugging people into various events, I suck!
When it comes to public speaking or teaching, don't ask my wife to do it. One time, she was going to run a weight-loss competition by herself...but she couldn't teach! She couldn't present the materials to the people in a way they could understand. She was simply reading from the book! You know how you've hated when your teacher just read from a textbook, right? So, she had to get me to teach the classes. I didn't need a textbook.
So, my wife sucks at teaching nutritional classes. Is that bad? No, it's not. It's just something she's not good at. She doesn't need to teach nutritional classes in order to build our business. These classes were just a method we've used to help increase business.
Now, there's another "A-Ha" moment: instead of using methods that depend on our weakness, we needed to use methods that depend on our strengths.
So, one of my strengths is teaching fitness classes. I LOVE teaching fitness classes. So, what we did was promote fitness classes to the community. I would lead the classes and my wife would set up a booth promoting "her" nutrition business after classes were over. It worked great! People come to take an awesome class, and then afterwards they could see my wife for samples and to sign up for various events. And of course, she is great at following up with clients.
When we are in school, what have we've been told? To build on our weaknesses, right? We take various subjects in school and expected to get good grades on all those subjects. But really, who is equally good at math, English, art, economics, physical education, history, and health education? Nobody! Getting As in all of your subjects doesn't reflect real life, does it?
Now just think if you had a report card labeling your personal traits. You WILL NOT get an A on all those traits! You will get one or two As, a few Bs, LOTS of Cs and Ds, and a couple of Fs. If you were in school, you'd be told to work on the traits that you're not good at. Well, why should you? Maybe an F is just an F and doesn't necessarily mean anything bad about you!
In life, we spend so much time building on weaknesses that we forget to strengthen our strengths. We chase after things that depend on our weaknesses instead of chasing things that depend on our strengths.
- Some people aren't meant to be bodybuilders.
- Some people aren't meant to be doctors.
- Some people aren't meant to be teachers.
- Some people aren't meant to be parents.
- Some people aren't meant to be leaders.
- Some people aren't meant to be in college.
- Some people aren't meant to be soldiers.
- Some people aren't meant to be police officers.
And that's okay! If you're not meant for one thing, then that means you're meant for something else. Everybody is meant for something!
I truly believe that God has given everybody special gifts and certain traits that make them valuable to society. There's even a Bible passage that speaks about this: "In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well." (Romans 12:6) Then Paul, in that passage, goes on about listing certain gifts and how we ought to use them well. If your gift is in teaching, then be the best at it. If your gift is to encourage/inspire, then be the best! If your gift is in generosity, be the best! If your gift is showing kindness and mercy, be the best! If your gift is in leadership, be the best!
Everybody has different traits, different qualities, and different strengths that make him or her unique. When you go after something that isn't meant for you, then you reduce the quality of who you are!
I am NOT meant to be a cop, but I was chasing after it for a while. I wanted to be a cop very much. But inside me, I knew it wasn't something I cared for.
When I was an EMT, I knew it wasn't meant for me. Yes, I've gained plenty of valuable experiences from it, but that field wasn't meant for me. It doesn't mean that it's BENEATH me, but that it's meant for somebody else who could make it work for them.
When I was a public school teacher, I knew that it wasn't for me. Yes, I could say how "broken" the public school system is, but the fact is that being a public school teacher is meant for somebody else. Not me!
You know what? If you suck at something, then you suck at it. Period. Leave it alone and go after something that you don't suck at. Remember that there is ALWAYS somebody who is good at something that you're not good at.
You don't have to be a pro at everything. You're not meant to be! You don't have to learn ten languages, or be good at ten skills, or read ten books on ten different subjects. Focus on what you are a pro at and work on being MORE of a pro at it.
Don't compare your weaknesses to someone else's strengths. The other person has weaknesses just like you do. You are good at one thing, the other person is good at something else. Keep it that way!