Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Last Updated on: September 20, 2023

In my first job in 2016, our company tasked us to take the Gallup Strengthsfinder test that would help identify our strengths, which took only around 30 minutes.

Once we got our results, our managers told us that the goal of the test was not to know our weaknesses so that we could improve them. Instead, the test was to identify our strengths and focus more on them.

Then he added that we don’t need to worry about our weaknesses too much because there is certainly someone whose strength will compensate for our shortcomings.

So, we were supposed to collaborate with others who could supplement our weaknesses. Likewise, we will also work with someone whose weakness is our strength.

The Importance of Knowing Your Strengths and Weaknesses

My top five Strengthsfinder results were spot-on. It revealed that my strengths have something to do with my interest in history, faith, learning, problem-solving, and holding on to my values.

I realized that the reason why I can easily use other people’s past experiences to avoid mistakes is because that is my strength. 

Likewise, I have a strong hold on faith and my core values when deciding important things.

Though, at some level, I already know these things, it only reinforces it and adds context on how it can help me succeed.

Here are the Top 5 out of the 34 themes.

My Top 5 Gallup Strengthsfinder Result In 2016.
My Top 5 Gallup Strengthsfinder Result In 2016.

On the other side of the spectrum are my weaknesses. The five themes shown to be my weakness are connected to commanding and taking control, significance, competition, activation, and maximizer.

Here are the lowest five themes on my results.

My Bottom 5 Gallup Strengthsfinder Result In 2016.
My Bottom 5 Gallup Strengthsfinder Result In 2016.

These weaknesses showed why I don’t usually take control of situations and don’t care about how other people look at me.

Also, I can easily dismiss competition against others and be genuinely happy for other people’s progress, knowing that my only competition is my current self.

I am also generally more patient and can be content with what I have.

Though these results only show a fraction of my personality, they greatly validate what I learned from introspection. I can also use these as a guide on which skills and activities I can excel in.

Why You Should Strengthen Your Strengths

The idea of focusing on your strengths, not your weaknesses, was foreign to many of us because we are often told in school that we should work more on our weaknesses.

For instance, if you are good at drawing but are horrible at Math, the teachers would normally advise you or your parents to find a tutor so you can work on your Math skills.

Or, say you are athletic and excel in sports but struggle in English. The usual advice is to work more on your English subject and decrease your time with sports.

While these examples have merits on some level, especially on essential skills like speaking, collaboration, and writing. Still, some skills will require more time, energy, and effort to strengthen something not innate in us.

This can be related to the Multiple Intelligence Theory by Howard Gardner, stating that there are eight sets of intelligence, which means that you can be a genius in other aspects outside the usual academic intelligence.

According to Gardner, the different types of intelligence are Musical, Visual-spatial, Linguistic-verbal, Logical-mathematical, Bodily-kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalistic, and can even include Existential.

I love this theory because it speaks about how we can be genius if only we can work on the skills that suit our strengths.

Why You Should Delegate Your Weaknesses

We can never be good in everything and will also not enjoy everything. Likewise, our time to learn and our resources are limited, so we can only work on one thing at a time.

Delegating your weakness so that you can focus on your strengths is a great way to move forward in our present world.

Think of a standard basketball team. There are five people on the court who ideally excel in one or two domains of the game but may not be great or limited in another.

A basketball team can’t have five point guards to handle the ball because there will not be enough scorers, rebounders, and defenders. Also, there is only one ball.

Similarly, a team can’t all be centers and power forwards. Because even if they have the size and strength, there will not be enough speed and scoring to go around.

Similarly, our companies can’t be all programmers, all teachers, all engineers, all accountants, or all managers. There should be people from different strengths and capabilities that will all converge into a cohesive whole.

Surely, it may not apply to everyone, especially solopreneurs and freelancers. Still, they can easily identify the strengths they can offer the world.

Strengths vs. Weaknesses

Strength (Positive) Vs Weakness (Negative)

Imagine our strengths and weaknesses as numbers on a line from -9 to +9, where the neutral point is the zero in the middle.

Our strengths are the positive numbers, and our weaknesses are the negative numbers.

For instance, you are great at Math. Let us designate +8 to that. It would take less effort and time for you to master it. Ideally, you will also excel in careers that have something to do with numbers, like engineering and statistics.

On the other hand, if you are struggling with Math, let’s designate a -4. In that case, it will take more time and effort to master it because you are coming from a negative place (weakness) and taking it to the positive side (strength).

Though you can work your way up to the positive, it would cost you more time, energy, and effort than strengthening your already strong suits.

How to Find Your Strengths

Finding our strength can sometimes be straightforward when we fully understand ourselves, but other times, it may need more.

Here are some ways you can do to identify your strengths.

1. Introspection

The first step in finding your strength is to know yourself through introspection or self-observation.

What activities do you find relatively simple and, at the same time, enjoyable? Because chances are these activities will reflect your latent talents.

How do you think or respond to certain things and situations? Are you genuinely interested in your work, or are you always trying hard to get a passing mark?

You may also try different things and join various activities to better identify which suits your strength

2. Asking Other People

If you’re unsure about your strengths after careful introspection, then you may need to ask others, especially those who are close to you or have worked with you.

I remember when I was still in the corporate setup, my previous team leader told me that I was good at teaching after I taught our new teammates about our project process.

That comment was a confirmation because, during that time, I was already contemplating returning to my home province to change my career.

So, if you are unsure what skills you are good at, try asking your close friends, past teachers, or even your parents and other family members.

3. Assessment Tests

Finally, we have the assessment tests, which can be used to determine your strengths by answering a series of questions, mostly about how you view yourself, others, and your environment.

Some popular assessment tests are Gallup’s StrengthsFinder and MBTI Personality Tests. There are also tests administered by psychologists and psychometricians.

Though the results may often reflect who you are, there are times when you’ll doubt if its right, especially if you’re not honest with your answers.

Final Thought

We all have our innate strengths. At the same time, we have our inherent weaknesses and limitations.

Let’s discover our strengths and make them even stronger! Focus on what you’re already good at and see how far you can go.

Those strengths and weaknesses create who we are. We need to take advantage of what we are good at and strengthen it while finding other people who can help us with the things we struggle with.

It is never too late to explore a different career path that will compensate for your strengths — just be sure you prepare for it.

God bless you!

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