“Work On Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses”

It’s Not Really As Simple As That

“The acknowledgment of our weakness is the first step in repairing our loss.” — Thomas à Kempis

People often ask me about if they should work on their weaknesses or focus on their strengths.

I used to tell them to not bother with their weaknesses other than identify them and surround themselves with people who can cover for it.

Sound advice? Sure.

But here’s what I’ve observed and learned. We seldom qualify this saying with what it actually takes to set yourself up to do this.

Let’s say you’re a guitarist.

Your main thing is playing guitar and writing music. To make a career out of it you have to have some way of making money.

Well, in the beginning of your career you probably aren’t that interested in or good at everything, so you have to piece it all together bit by bit.

Perhaps you have to manage your money, talk your way into gigs, negotiate pay, promote said gig, carry around and maintain your own equipment, etc.

You could suck ass at it but you have to learn and build your skills to a certain level.

Strengths vs. Weaknesses? It’s not binary!

Now, once you’ve done the legwork, people start paying attention, and you start earning more, you can offload some of the work you’re not good at or don’t enjoy doing to those willing to do it for pay. Some people might do it for free just to show their appreciation and feel like part of the team.

It’s basically outsourcing whatever you can afford so you can focus on leveraging your strengths.

That being said, you shouldn’t ignore your weaknesses even after you’ve enabled yourself to focus on your strengths.

Self awareness makes it easier to know what kind of people you need to surround yourself with and who can cover for your weaknesses.

If you’re good at the artistic and don’t want the hassle of promoting yourself? Get a hype man or agency. If you want to build a business but don’t want to focus on budgeting? Get someone who can handle the economics.

While you should have an overview and understanding for what’s going on with each piece, you don’t have to gain expert knowledge.

Your weaknesses are always going to outnumber your strengths.

Just learn enough to get by.

Perfection is an asymptote.

Look, we all want to do what we’re best at and we should. But we also need to be practical.

The best thing we can do is to take an honest look at ourselves and do whatever we can to get to the next level.

If that means working on your weaknesses, getting a partner, delegating, or paying for a service?

I say do it.

Only working on your weaknesses stops you from doing what you’re good at. Only focusing on your strengths causes blind spots.

Both of these things waste time, and we only get so much time in our lives.

How much time do you spend on your weaknesses versus strengths? Share your story about how you set yourself up to succeed.


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