Productivity: Play to your Strengths

We are all very good at identifying our weaknesses.
And highlighting them.
And worrying about them.
And perseverating on them.

To what end?

Does intense focus on a supposed deficit change behavior? (Hint: The answer is no.)

For some of us, there is the additional layer of worrying about whether we’re paying attention to our weaknesses.  Do we really see them? Are we taking care of them so no one else finds out?

In a perfect world, when we have identified something we want to work on, we would do a careful inventory and create a plan to strengthen the weak areas, approaching it much like strengthening a muscle that has been ignored. Regular workouts with a non-emotional goal.

But in our real and imperfect world, what do we actually DO about the areas where we are not as strong as we would like to be?

We look to our strengths. 

(Alert readers of my series will have figured out by now that all of my productivity advice is a version of “do the opposite of what you think.”)

You would not be where you are right now if you did not have tremendous internal strength.  You would not have moved the bar as far as you have moved it, moved the rock up the hill as far as you’ve moved it, without incredible strength. 

And it’s important to remind yourself of that, especially when it feels like you are made up of one shortcoming after another.

Struggling with something you don’t feel good at? Recognize your strengths. Highlight the tools that you have, acknowledge them, make a list of them.  And once you have captured that sense of assurance that, yes, you are good at things, use that strength to turn and face the things that challenge you. Stare right at them and draw the line in the sand on how you will deal with them. No waffling.

And that’s on every level. Face and commit to dealing with tasks, but also commit to drawing a line in the sand in your thinking.  “I will not re-play my weakness. I have the strength to keep this commitment, and I’m going to stop now because it does not serve me.”

To be clear, I’m not saying deny what is going on with your mind or body —  that you’re tired or that you’re overwhelmed or that you just keep pushing to meet someone’s bar.  I am saying, when you reside in your strengths, you can say ‘I’m not gonna spend my time and my energy on that thinking right now.”

So, let’s begin.

What are you good at?

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Productivity: Play to your Strengths — 1 Comment

  1. I am really good at organizing, bringing new ideas to the table, documenting everything I do and my center does, supporting Indigenous students from the background.

    But – One of my weaknesses lies in working with people. I am not sure that is something I can ignore, especially as a white cis male.

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