I am asked on a pretty regular basis, “Why should I focus on my strengths when I have so much room for improvement in my area of weakness?” It is a great question and because my #2 Talent- Communication- motivates me to tell stories, I explain it this way.

Most people know that Michael Phelps is one of the all-time most accomplished swimmers on the Olympic stage and probably one of the all-time greatest swimmers- ever- anywhere.  It probably also isn’t too hard to believe that Michael has some God-Given, inherent talent that helps him in the swimming arena.

Now what if Michal Phelps’, swimming coach had recognized that talent, pulled him out of the pool, and told his mother that since he was already good at swimming, he should probably focus on an activity he wasn’t as good at-maybe something like singing?  That sounds ludicrous, right?  Pulling Michael out of the pool to go to voice lessons would have led to him not being able to truly develop his swimming ability so he would probably never have been more than mediocre in the pool.  And, while he could have learned to sing, because it didn’t align with his natural talent, he probably would never have risen to the level of stardom he did with swimming.  In fact, Michael probably would have been a mediocre performer there too.

When we apply this concept to our own lives, the message is this. When we focus on the areas that are not natural to us, we can learn and we can get better.  However, because it isn’t natural, we will have to work harder and longer for average results which will leave us tired, frustrated, and wondering why we can’t compete.

When we recognize and leverage what we naturally are inclined to do really well, we are starting the competition from a place of strength. This allows us to perform at a higher level easier and faster than others which leaves us feeling confident, motivated, and energized.

The choice is always yours, but for me, I’m glad I recognize my gifts, understand my weaknesses, manage my shortcomings, and leverage my strengths to experience new possibilities with a sense of pride and enthusiasm for my work.

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