John Maxwell says that when you put together a plan of action to reach a goal, to accomplish something significant, you need to focus on using your strengths, not compensating for your weaknesses. When a coach of an athletic team is planning a game strategy, he looks at each player for what they can contribute, not where that player is weak. By taking advantage of your strengths, you improve your chances of success and increase the value of your results.

We All Have Strengths

Current culture teaches people that humility means depreciating themselves, that a virtuous person does not focus on where they are better but on where they are like everyone else. While I am the first to say that no-one is perfect, I will adamantly defend the statement that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. One person is good at dealing with other people, another is excellent at putting a plan together, a third at making sure the team stays on mission and that resources are used effectively.

When you are looking to get something done, you need to understand what you bring to the process, both in strengths and weaknesses. Only then can you know what part of the process to focus your energies on, and what part you need help with. Accepting your uniqueness is a necessary pre-condition to putting together a plan that works for you.

Finding Your Strengths

Many people have never deliberately evaluated themselves to find their strengths and weaknesses; when asked if they do a particular task well, they say “I am as good as the next guy.” This is not recognition of a strength; this is a denial of any special quality. So, if you are going to put together a plan for something new and exciting, you cannot simply say “I am like everyone else.” You must determine where you are special and then bring that special quality into your planning.

There are two ways to find your strengths. First, do some exercises in self-awareness. Ask yourself what you like to do; people are better at what they like rather than what they do not like. Ask yourself what other people have asked you to do in the past; if someone has asked you to do something that indicates that they might think you can do it. Where have you been successful? What activities have you been successful at? Look at your past with a critical eye, finding the areas where you have gotten the job done.

The second way is to get an outside opinion. Another person can indicate areas where you have the reputation of excellence, areas where you do not or cannot see your strengths. Recognition of strengths is something that good managers, teachers, life coaches, and other such people can provide. Get some advice from someone you trust, someone whose success is not tied to your accomplishments.

Standing Up

You need to recognize where you are strong, for that is the foundation you build upon to create a structure of action leading to success. A house needs to be built on solid ground, not sand. You must know your resources before you can create an effective plan. And one of your main resources is you.

Author's Bio: 

John Steely has been teaching mathematics, study skills, and habits of success for over 25 years. You can access a number of free resources he has found and made at Steely Services