It sounds cliché, but no one really is perfect and no one can be. The images we post on social media about our seemingly impeccable lives, happy relationships, and picturesque travel destinations, are failed attempts to portray perfection. This applies to me as much as it applies to you. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, which we need to realize so we could use both to our advantage. As a business coach in the Philippines, I always incorporate the importance of self-evaluation in my mentoring sessions. This is because I believe that knowing ourselves is key to being successful.
The introspection of one’s self is a complicated task, but I recommend doing the simple listing of strengths and weaknesses. When we say strengths, these are the characteristics that we are proud of having. In other terms, strengths are our skills. As opposed to these are our weaknesses or the ones we aren’t experts on. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. You could not say that you don’t have a weakness because we all aim to better ourselves, which is why you’ve visited blogs such as mine. As we strive to convert our weaknesses into strengths, the other equally important task is to maximize our strengths.
Ideally, an entrepreneur holds a certain set of qualities that make him productive. Yet, he can’t possess all these ideal skills as we could only do so much. Some people are blessed in specific areas; whereas, we are blessed in other areas they lack competence in. For example, in a startup culture, there is the need for three main personalities (hustler, hacker, and designer) because one’s skill set is not enough to do all tasks. In this case, the hustler may have the financial and business mindset, but he is not too adept in design or programming language. The hacker is skilled in codes but does not have the foresight and social skills like that of a hustler. The designer has the artistry and creativity, but he does not possess the leadership or technical skills. Therefore, there is a division of responsibilities Here then comes the justification of why maximizing our strengths is of utmost significance in personal success. When we say “maximize”, we mean to develop them so they are further strengthened. I could enumerate three ways to do this: apply them, nurture them, and share them.
Apply. I once read in a personality book that strengths are just like muscles that need to be regularly worked out. If your skill is on financial literacy, you have to use it on a daily basis so you don’t forget how to do it. Remember the ever popular saying that “practice makes perfect”? Although we could not perfect something, we grow better at it through practice. The hacker, for instance, does programming codes daily, so he gets superior at it. If he decides to stop practicing it for a certain period of time, he will have a hard time keeping up with new languages that are being introduced.
Nurture. I want you to imagine a ballet dancer, a writer, and a leader. They aren’t born with bodies able to perform difficult dance routines, with rich imaginations and penchant for words, and people skills. They developed these talents from a young age and up until now are seeking ways to improve their strengths. Similarly, skills have to be nurtured. In Filipino, we have the term “kinakalawang” (accumulating rust or becoming tarnished) to describe someone who has been left in time because of idleness. Actually, this is in line with the first tip, as one needs to apply his strengths in order to nurture them. Let’s take the designer from the startup example. Design trends are rapidly changing. If the designer remains confident and satisfied with the skills he possesses without trying to learn new technologies and standards in his industry, his strength could eventually be of no use to the company.
Share. One of my favorite college professors have this principle in teaching: “I teach because in sharing my knowledge, I feel like I am learning too.” Sharing our strengths to other people make us feel more skillful in our profession. For example, the hustler could take in a protégé so he could share all his knowledge about managing the business. In so doing, he is able to relive what he knows and ensure that someone else is prepared for the position. I write blogs and do mentoring so I could share my skills to people who need my expertise. As such, I am able to put my strength in executive coaching to good use.
Applying, nurturing, and sharing our skills are simple ways for us to optimize our strengths. Time is not an issue here, because what matters is our commitment to become better version of ourselves without striving to achieve perfection. Instead, we aspire to use the talents we have for our personal benefit and for the welfare of the organization we are affiliated with.
This is Joey Gurango, your Business Technology Coach!