August 2, 2012

This is a continuation from our July 21st post. As you may remember these posts are from my upcoming book Realizing a Vision.  I am looking for your feedback and comments to each post.  I am also looking for a great tagline for the title of Realizing a Vision. Please make comments on the blog or email me at realizingavision@gmail.com.  You will be recognized on the blog as well as receive a discount price on the purchase of the book.  We have also posted this continuation on our Realizing a Vision Book Page.

Chapter 1, Realizing a Vision of Owning A Business: Dream It and Do It (Con’t)

Part 2 of Strengths and Weaknesses Continued from  Section 1:  Talent, Passion and Strengths 

 

1.) Your talents and your strengths and weaknesses 

 This is important to remember:  Your strengths are not what you are good at and your weaknesses are not what you are bad at even though that’s what you have been taught growing up—and you will continue to be told until you can identify and state what they are and are not.  Your greatest strength is not your greatest weakness. Be honest with yourself when you look at your talents and then your strengths and weaknesses.  It has to be what you know you love and what you know just does not fit.  Your strengths and weaknesses will never change to be the opposite.  You may find you have other talents which is fine.  However, talents do not always equate to strengths.

 What are your strengths? A strength is an activity you consistently do near perfect performance.  Consistently is key here. Because a strength is something you do consistently.  It is an activity that you are successful with and can see yourself doing repeatedly and enjoying it all the time.  Your strengths leave you excited. You can do the activity forever.  Your strengths are something that mays you feel good and strong.  When you finish you may of course be drained. However you are satisfied, feeling great and once you take a break will be ready to go again. I find with my strengths I can really concentrate on the activity while growing from or with it.  I know my brain is growing from it.

 Additionally your strengths are not what people are doing for you.  That means when someone compliments your job or say idea, it makes you feel special. You may be complimented on a job well done or completing a deadline and it makes you feel special. However it may be something you were bored doing. You don’t enjoy doing it even if you are good all the time with it.  Just because someone compliments you doesn’t make the ability a strength.

 What are your weaknesses?  A weakness can never become a strength.  A weakness is any activity  that makes you feel weak after you have done it.  You may be very good at it although your favorite part of it is the ending.  You are go glad that is done. In fact you may think “ I can’t wait to get this over with now.” That is really a weakness.

  • This does not mean a required school course you do not understand nor have an interest in is a weakness.  It may mean you need to learn how to use it for your purposes.  IF you really cannot grasp the method behind the madness at least understand why it is beneficial, while making a passing grade.

Here is an example: In high school on all the standardized tests the results indicated I was strong in science and math.  My course scores did not show it. In fact when it came to chemistry I hated it and did not really try in the class. The formulas and signs made no sense to me.  What nobody knew at the time was I had dyslexia and still have it.  Of course chemistry and similar courses with signs and numbers would be draining.  I knew in ahaead of time chemistry was going to be too hard.  Unfortunately none of teachers or advisors told me how and why I needed it with a fashion career. What I did not realize in fashion and working with fabrics it is necessary to know how chemicals will react to both natural and synthetic fibers.  It became even more important as more synthetic fibers were created and mixed with natural fibers or other synthetics.  I loved working with fabrics and figuring how to combine different ones to create interesting looks.  It was a passion and I could experiment with fabrics endlessly. This included working with interior fabrics to combine with apparel fabrics as well as creating apparel out of interior fabrics. It was all chemistry. It was fun to learn and then experiment how the chemicals reacted to the fibers.  Chemistry was not one of my weaknesses.  It was actually a strength and it became stronger I learned very quickly what and how chemicals reacted together and with the fibers.

 Your weakness is something YOU do that drains you or makes you feel weak.  It is NOT something another person does or says to you.  For example, you are in a meeting and someone makes a derogatory remark about your work or how you handled a project.  Of course the person and the remark makes you feel weak.  That is not necessarily a weakness because you enjoyed finishing the project.  If there were some areas in the project that needed tweaking you would most likely make changes next time. If the other person does not see it, then that is their loss.  And if they do, the person is probably just jealous you actually enjoyed finishing the project. Remember, it is the problem of the other person and their interpretation.

 Bringing your talents into the picture

To develop a strength you need certain innate talents. Why?  Your skills and knowledge when applied to your talent will make the talent better.  In other words, practice makes you stronger, makes the ideas flow more smoothly. You can have a skill that when combined with your talent gives you the foundation to build on a strength.  So when you identify your most powerful talents and then make them better through skills and knowledge, you will be creating your strengths.

 2.) This doesn’t mean you have to be well-rounded

You do need to be sharp and think about what you need to complement your weaknesses.  In other words, you do not need to be strong in every detail of your business or say as a leader in a school or after-school club.  Think of it this way: The vision for your business once you get into it will have activities that you are good doing, yet totally drain you and you hate doing them. There will be activities that you really have no idea what to do and need to learn a new skill.  For a while, you will need to just do it.

What may be feasible for you starting out is to find a relative or friend whose interests, skills or strengths will complement you. This will be your first lesson in surrounding yourself with effective people to make your business well-rounded and your life easier.  You can also apply this to your high school clubs or youth programs if you are a leader.  It may not be easy, however it is better than surrounding yourself with people who have the exact same characteristics as you.   This leads to point 3.)

 3.)  Maximize your strengths and manage or neutralize your weaknesses

It doesn’t mean to ignore your weaknesses rather you learn how to deal with them  Why would you want to work on your weakness(es) when you can only get a bit better rather than get stronger?

Here’s an example of how talents can be either a strength and weakness:  One of your talents is fashion design and working with fabrics to bring your designs to life.  Your strength is in designing apparel.  You instinctively know where to source the best fabrics to create the apparel. One of your talents is negotiation and it is definitely a strength.  You consistently negotiate the best prices, delivery and shipping details.  You love all of this and could spend your time doing it almost 24 hours a day (with a couple of hours of sleep).  You thrive on bringing all the pieces together to arrange the most profitable while always the most fashionable apparel designs for your business.  You are in your strength zone which is also your comfort zone.

Your trait to be detailed-oriented allows you to become stronger with your apparel designing, fabric sourcing and negotiating. However, no matter how detailed you are with bringing all the components together to create your apparel designs, you dread doing the paperwork in the office. You will procrastinate getting the details of the paperwork organized even though you know if a fabric shipment is lost or late the information is needed for tracking the shipments.  No matter how much your business partner or administrative person will harp on you to get it done, it is like the kiss of death for you. It takes you away from being creative and working to make your customers happy.  To make matters worst, what you dread even more is tracing shipments that are slowed down, lost or held up for any reason. If a fabric shipment has to be tracked because it may be lost or is really really late in arriving, you are not the person to do it. No matter how much you try to do this type of work, you will never reach the point that it is second nature to you.  It’s just not in you. These activities are considered a weakness.  You need someone who looks at the tedious activities as a challenge to be overcome.  You know this person loves to get in the middle of the problem, figure out what needs to be done to solve it and then gets it done. This person thrives on restoring order and saving the day.

How do you manage your weaknesses as in #3?  Think about what was described in # 2 above.There is more than one way to solve your challenge: 

Stop doing it:  Find someone else to do it in your business or on your team.  Of course you may need to do it yourself at first- but when possible get someone else to do it.  You are much more valuable working within your strength zone in your business than on a weakness.

  • Is there a friend who will work with you that loves to organize paperwork and solve mysteries, like what happened to the deliveries.
  • Is there a relative who can help? It does not have to be a parent
  • What about a neighbor with experience who wants to help you

This leads to partnering with someone whose strength is in the area of your weakness. This is more than a person who steps in to do the job.  This is someone who can work with you, along side of you and shares your vision and mission. Also, make sure you actually like this person and can work together. Find somebody that you can work with at 3AM tired and cranky. FYI:  That’s what Bill Gates did after a bit.  He found a partner.

  • Final option when the above is not an option: Do everything yourself until the above options become available.

Here is one point with your strength zone and managing weaknesses.  Push yourself within your comfort zone rather than pushing beyond your comfort zone:  When you push yourself within your comfort zone you have the greatest opportunity to learn and grow your strengths.  Once you really know yourself,  if you push yourself outside your comfort zone, you may find it will only cause you a lot of frustration.

  • Please note:  This does not mean because you don’t “like” school and are “bored” with it that you should quit and simply delve into your business.  It does not mean you quit and only concentrate on what you “like” to do.  In the same vein it does not mean you quit and enroll in a vocational school to get away from courses you do not like or think are too difficult.  There are courses you need in business that will help you start and run your business.  Look at shifting your schedule or making adjustments to help you get the most out of school AND to graduate.  In addition, you may find additional strengths you did not know about; strengths that make a difference with your business and in the long run your personal life.

 

 

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