How can leaders be great today when society forces us to focus on the things at which we are not good?
When I came home with my report card, my parents focused on my low grades and practically ignored the high ones. When playing sports, people always asked me if I was a “starter.” If ever I accomplished something, it was nothing but mere luck.
Not only has our generation been conditioned to focus on our academic lows, but also, our lows in general. However, getting good grades, being involved and setting goals are all healthy ideals. So, how can we, 20-somethings, find our strengths when we're busy focusing on our weaknesses?
To start, ironically enough, we do have to examine our weaknesses.
Knowing your weaknesses
I don't think Superman particularly likes to get close to kryptonite, so why does he have a small piece at home?
If you ever watched the television series, "Smallville," you know Clark has a box of kryptonite hidden in his house. He knows where it is and what it does to him. The same goes for the rest us: We need to know the things, the situations and the places that aren't conducive to our success.
Meg Jay, author of the book, “The Defining Decade,” tells us that between the ages of 20 and 30, we need to build our human capital and invest in ourselves.
I know that I lack math skills and I embrace it. I keep math in the "box," like Superman does with his kryptonite. When we learn to box up our weaknesses, we can learn to recondition our minds to focus on our strengths; in other words, we can build upon our assets and better ourselves, as Jay suggests.
What can you box up today?
Focus on your passions and strengths
We are all created with a certain set of skills. Somehow, Michael Jordan knew basketball was meant to be his calling, Justin Timberlake knew his voice would move people, and Steve Jobs was adamant about changing the world through his products.
You must ask yourself, what gets you excited? In which subjects did you generally get good grades? Odds are, what you most enjoy to share with others are the things at which you are probably most skilled.
When leaders fuse their passions and strengths, the world is generally in store for treats. Think of two lines intersecting at a point; that point should be your driving force.
Imagine a person who is skilled at crunching numbers and also passionate about sports; sounds like a prime candidate to be an accountant for Nike or Adidas, right? Skill and passion is an equation that adds up to happiness and success.
Invest in your passions and strengths
What could you do today that could develop into something bigger three, eight or 15 years down the line? Identify this, become really great at it and then, make it a reality.
In the book "The One Thing," author Gary Keller delves into the idea of doing less to achieve more. Keller gives us a unique insight into the world of “keeping the one thing, the one thing.” The diagram below shows how a small domino can knock over a much larger domino.
Identify your strongest skill
As leaders, we ought to be able to give the world one thing and give it well. In college, I practiced my speeches while walking to class, in the shower and in the car.
People probably thought I was crazy, but I was strengthening my public speaking prowess. Maybe your strength is numbers, design or storytelling. Whatever it may be, once you pin down your one thing, invest in it every day.
However, don't feel like nothing beyond said skill matters. Simply, start with one thing and go from there.
Photo via We Heart It