We move ourselves and society forward by perfecting, refining and building our areas of expertise. We don't help anyone by constantly trying to identify perceived "Weaknesses" and trying to perfect them.
Contrary to popular belief that we should constantly improve our areas of weaknesses, you can never be "the" leader in your field if you are trying to become mediocre in someone else's
Who agrees with me?
1. Joel Osteen
- In a sermon on TV last week he explained how we should stay in the gifts that God has given us. (By the way he is a great speaker for Toastmasters to study)
2. Alan Weiss - He says that society is moved forward by the best and the brightest.
3. Jack Welch
- He said "Be number one or number two in the field, or get out of that field".
However, I recently saw an article offering this erroneous advice to speakers "Don't perfect what you're good at; improve your weak points". What? I
f you are a world champion speaker who possesses exemplary "Delivery" and "Humor" skills why would you abandon these skills and begin to investigate perceived "weaknesses"? What will you gain by studying negotiation, etiquette and research.
This advice is wrong for a number of reasons:
1. Who decides what constitutes a weakness? Is the ability repair a roof a strength? Do you have a weakness if you prefer to perform on a stage rather than meditate for a day at a time? If you cannot type at 50 words per minute is this a weakness? What if you are a carpenter and never need to type? What if an author cannot bench press 300 pounds? Is this a weakness? Is there a "Big Book of Weaknesses?"
2. If you have weaknesses, which one is more weak than others? Should a carpenter learn to type 50 words a minute in his spare time rather than take a course in fly fishing? Should an author work out so that he can bench press 300 pounds or learn to shoot a rifle accurately first? Or should he learn how to negotiate in a hostage situation first (then he won't need to shoot the rifle)? The possible permutations of weaknesses are endless.
3. This advice assumes that you have a weakness. It is a negative attitude. Why must we all have "Weaknesses"? Why can't we have strengths in the areas that we choose to be strong?
I prefer t0 take a positive attitude and build on our strengths. We should build strengths that eclipse our "weaknesses".
People who focus on trying to identify weaknesses are generally not very productive. My experience is that productive people build on their strengths and keep getting better. If you want to disagree with me, then please go ahead and invest your valuable time in trying to identify and prioritize your "weaknesses". Keep track of the productive time you waste during this endeavor.
After you have invested part of your life in this futile exercise, read this posting again and dispute my approach. Ask yourself "Now that I have invested productive time identifying my weaknesses, what could I have produced in this time? What skill could I have improved in this time I focused on looking for perceived weaknesses that may not exist?"
This advice damages all who hear it. Speakers and all non-speakers have the responsibility to develop our talents to the fullest so that our expertise can benefit mankind. Where would we be if Dr. Marie Curie said "I am a great doctor, but need to improve as a musician, artist, negotiator and marathon runner. No one cares for X-Rays anyway. Let me focus on improving my weaknesses"
No. We need to build on our strengths. In the highly unlikely event that you have developed all of your talents to the maximum possible ability, then contact me. You will be the first person in history to get my approval and work on identifying a "weakness" that you can improve.
Focus on a few strengths to get better in them. In Feet to the Fire and in our Accountability
Partnership, Liz Trendowski
and I focus on each other's strengths so that we can both improve faster and benefit our audiences more.
I am logical and organized, but was blessed with limited (to put it politely) creativity. Liz is very creative but less organized. At my age, I don't have the time time learn to be creative. I will continue to contribute to society by constantly focusing on improving my public speaking skills (through Toastmasters International) and my Project Management talents. If you want an organized project, then call on me. If you want a creative title for your book, CD, or seminar, call Liz. Neither of us obsess over the fact that we are not clones.
In summary - focus on your strengths. Build on them. Become an expert. Become a better expert. Be glamorously unique. Then you can save other people time by sharing your expertise. You have strengths. Use them to help yourself and society. Rejoice in your strengths
, Dr. Curie.
Labels: Accountability Partnerships, Feet to the Fire, Thought of the day