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Inner Game

Face It, You’re Weak (and That’s OK)

weightsFrom Trevor Mauch

When I was a kid I can vividly remember my little league days.

I’ve always been shorter than most everyone else on the team... but one of the faster players on the field... and I worked harder than everyone else (mainly because I had to keep up, because everyone was bigger and stronger). 

My baseball coach at the time, Mike, was working with me one day at practice.  I was a good hitter for average... a good fielder... but didn’t have much of any power at all.

I could poke a base hit through the infield or lay down a bunt and bust ass down the base path to beat out the throw... but ask me to hit a ball that actually landed in the air in the outfield grass... and that was like climbing Everest for me at the time.

So at practice Mike saw potential in me and really wanted to work on my weaknesses to “make me an even better player”.  So practice after practice we worked on my “power swing”. A big loopy upward swing that would magically loft the ball in the air as I was swinging so hard I’d spin myself into the ground.  Picture that for a second :-)

And we worked on that... and worked on it... and worked on it.  I did manage to hit some balls in the air to the outfield... but the whole time I remember thinking... “I’d rather just keep hitting the way I do and get base hits. I’m good at that. Being a homerun hitter just isn’t in my cards right now”.

kidIt wasn’t Mike’s fault.

He was taught the same thing when he was a kid.

But, what he didn’t realize was that by working on my weaknesses... he was actually doing more harm than good.

I’ll explain why in a bit.

Your Weaknesses Are Weaknesses for a Reason

I heard about something called “Unique Ability” a few years ago from a friend and mentor of mine who started off as a real estate investor... and how owns an Inc. 500 software company that does about $8 million a year in sales.

He heard about it from another guy who is one of the world’s top entrepreneurial coaches (he’s now my coach too).

Something I heard really struck a chord with me.  And here’s what it is.

All our lives we’re told to work on our weaknesses.  If you’re bad at math... you should be spending all of your study time on math to improve. Bad at hitting for power in baseball?  Your coach tells you to work on that.  If you’re bad at building websites and someone tells you that you need one... they say to learn how to build your own site so you won’t have to rely on someone else in the future.

We’ve all heard it. And it’s all a bunch of crap.

Here’s why: It all boils down to your unique abilities.

einsteinEveryone Is Uniquely Good At Some Things... and Bad At Others

In my little league example, my coach wanted me to be a more “well rounded” hitter and get some power. But I was really good already at getting on base... just not hitting doubles, triples, or the big home run.  But when he had me working on what I wasn’t uniquely good at (hitting for power)... we were neglecting the stuff I was uniquely good at (base hits and line drives).  If we would have spent all of that time working on my strengths to make them even greater strengths... and totally forgetting about working on my weakness... then I would have been a much better hitter.

In business, it’s easy to get wrapped up in doing everything in your business.  Throwing together your website, writing blog posts, negotiating, swinging the hammer on rehabs, filing your paperwork, etc. For me, I felt that the more I knew how to do in my business... the more weaknesses I worked on... the better off I’d be.

I Was Dead Wrong (Knowing What I Now Know)

My unique abilities in business are dreaming up big ideas, creating the vision and motivation for the team, dreaming up marketing campaigns (but I hate the implementation side), and building fun into life for our customers and employees. Everything else I basically hate and I’m not that good at (weaknesses).

teamworkBut everyone is different. My assistant Jen is much different. She loves organizing, being a supporter, and other things that make her a great personal assistant... but she doesn’t love dreaming up marketing and that kind of stuff. She works in her unique ability... I work in mine. Most of the rest that’s out of our unique abilities... we outsource to people who are really good at that particular thing.

(NOTE: Notice I said “most of the rest”. When you’re getting started there’s stuff you’ll have to work on that you don’t like and aren’t good at. But just recognize those things, and as soon as you can outsource those things to others when it makes sense. Until then, buckle down and focus on creating revenue as soon as possible.)

You’d be amazed but there are people who absolutely LOVE excel spreadsheets. It’s their life’s mission to build the best and most beautiful spreadsheets in the world. If you don’t like spreadsheets... outsource to those people who love them. It’s a win-win. Then you focus on what you love to do... are great at... and makes a big difference to your income and happiness.

Break the Mindset that Weaknesses Need to be Worked On

They don’t. What needs to happen is you need to recognize what you’re not good at and what you don’t enjoy... recognize what you’re really good at and really enjoy... schedule in focused time each week so you can work on the things you’re good at and enjoy and outsource the things you’re not good at and hate to those who love those tasks.

You’ll be much happier.  And rather than working on your weaknesses (working on weaknesses only creates “strong weaknesses”... lol, which aren’t good anyway)... make your strengths even stronger.


Do It To It! Immediate Action Steps

Understand – Understand that you will always be uniquely strong in some areas and uniquely weak in other areas.

Identify – Identify which activities provide you with the most personal satisfaction, in order to identify which areas of your life are uniquely strong.

Outsource & Delegate – Rather than obsessing over your unique weaknesses, proactively outsource and/or delegate the related activities to other people who posses unique strengths in those areas.

Nurture Your Unique Strengths – Spend as much time as possible nurturing your unique strengths, and enjoying the satisfaction that comes with working out of your greatest talents.

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