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BLOGStick to your Strengths

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Professional Development

Have you ever wondered how a professional athlete chooses their sport? While they may have some natural ability, this isn’t the whole story. Their path to stardom likely looks like this:

  • They started early,
  • They practiced relentlessly,
  • They found a coach who cared,
  • They loved what they did, and
  • They focussed on their strengths.

If you think about it, their “sport” is really nothing more than their day job. And this formula is just as applicable whether you are a professional manager, analyst, salesperson, lawyer, or just about anything. Start your career early, improve yourself with education, find a mentor, and do what you love doing.

But what about the last item on the list? Instead of sticking to your strengths, do you focus on your weaknesses? Many people reason that because of their weaknesses, they are held back; if only their weaknesses could be addressed, then success will follow.

Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Especially for those in mid-career, a better strategy is to find a role where these weaknesses are unimportant. Then you can spend your time and energy on your strengths – and make a real difference.

When you stick to your strengths, consider the impact:

  • You tackle your work relentlessly,
  • You attract mentors who want to help a winner, and
  • You love what you do, because you are no longer fighting your weaknesses.

Do these sound familiar? Like the professional athlete whose success depends on their strengths, your success does too.


What are your strengths? Think about how others describe you; look in your old performance reviews or client testimonials; consider the tasks that you enjoy the most. During the week, change your focus to doing more things that take advantage of your strengths, and de-emphasize tasks (and training) that focus on your weaknesses. Working on your strengths makes you strong; working on your weaknesses makes you… not strong.

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