Preparing for a business presentation I was giving earlier today, I recognized something that was sort of an insight. I realized that if we wish to succeed in business, we need to acknowledge not only what we are good at, but also what are our blind spots.
In our Western society, we are conditioned for success; admitting to weaknesses is looked down at. “If you cannot do something well,” I would hear myself preaching my own children, “it is not because you cannot, or are not talented enough; it is because you need more practice.” We are taught to believe that we can be good at whatever we put our minds to. And while that may be truth, the reality is that one cannot be good at everything as there are just so many hours in the day. Thus, we reach adulthood with a certain skill-set that includes a limited number abilities. But, because we are not allowed to admit to less than excellence, we become prisoners of a perception that we are good at almost anything we do.
Taking a closer look at my own skill-set I realized, and this wasn’t easy to acknowledge, that, for example, I am just proficient enough with managing my finances. Since I do not attribute high value to having lots of money, it never interested me, and thus it is an area I neglected developing beyond the basics.
I am also not that great with staying focused on only one topic. Over the years I’ve justified this tendency with being a renaissance man. While this may be the case, there is also a downside to that attribute; a disadvantage I refused to acknowledge.
And, admittedly, I don’t pay too much attention to details. Details bore me. I would follow up on specifics to a point, but once my interest is lost, some particulars may fly over my head; a dangerous situation since, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. To give but one example, I rarely look and count change I receive when making cash payment.
Each of the qualities I listed above as a weakness, has a flip side which yield strength. Having a wide range of interests is the opposite of staying focused. Thus, while I may have a difficult time staying fixated on only one item for an extended period of time, that same quality allows me to see connections in the bigger picture that many others simply miss. Similarly, being less concerned about money allows me to think more freely as I am not constrained by “I cannot afford this thus this is not an option.” Likewise, being less of a detail-oriented person, I enjoy more of a creative visionarism (yeah, that’s a made up word…)
What is one to do when each strength is also a weakness and each blind spot, a potential gift?
Start with recognizing your skill-set and attributes. Then, with complete honesty, look for the areas of challenge. Realizing and acknowledging where you are lacking, you can then either hire a professional to help you in that specific field, or, find a business partner that would complete you.
I have already done some of this previously but without being fully aware of the connection between the strengths and weaknesses; the yin and the yang. Now that I have become aware, it is something I plan to pay more attention to.
Learned from: preparing a business presentations for my BNI chapter and for my local chamber of commerce.