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  • Andrew Abbott

Focus on Your Strengths... Not Your Weaknesses

Ok, serious blog time…

A few months ago, my director called me into his office. He handed me a book titled “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath and explained, “Before you read this, you need to go online and take a self-assessment.” It was two-hundred some questions and took about twenty minutes to complete. The purpose of the assessment was to identify your five, unique strengths. Then, after identifying your strengths, you read through the book which goes into detail on each individual strength (34 total) and highlights strategies for individuals who possess each strength. The underlying concept is that rather than consistently spending your time and energy on improving your weaknesses, the focus rather should be on your strengths.

Think about that for a second. What have you been taught your entire life? In school, when you didn’t perform well in certain subjects, you were told to focus more on those subjects. At work, when you want a promotion, there are certain areas that you need to improve in. The concept outlined in this book seemed to go against what I had been taught my entire life, which was improve my weaknesses. Does this really make sense, though? Every person on this planet is unique. Every person has a different set of skills… different personality traits… and different strengths and weaknesses. Why should everyone strive to improve their weaknesses, rather than spend time working on what they are actually good at? Is that not the purpose of having a diverse, collaborative team?

Now, I don’t want to convey the message that you should never improve in areas that need improvement. I would argue there are generally accepted skills and personality traits that are good to possess. If you feel that you could improve in some of these areas, then by all means go for it. That being said, though, no one is good at everything. But everyone is good at something! The key is identifying what you are good at and taking full advantage of it.

Everyone has unique strengths and experiences that they can bring to the table. I know what mine are, and I’ve put more emphasis on them, especially after reading this book. I definitely recommend picking up a copy. You may learn a few things about yourself and about others that you interact with on a daily basis. At the very least, it should reaffirm your current view of what strengths you possess and provide some helpful tips and tricks for working with others that possess different strengths than you. Thanks for reading! I promise not to be so serious next time.

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