Strengthen Strengths, Outsource Weaknesses

strengths.jpgDuring the final 2 weeks of December, I typically review my goals for the upcoming year.  I enjoy the feeling of cheerful expectancy (as Earl Nightingale used to say) I have this time of year.

Your Strengths are your daily activities (the WHATs of your day) that “make you feel strong” according to Cambridge-educated researcher and author, Marcus Buckingham.

In an ideal world, you repeatedly want to focus on strengthening your Strengths and outsourcing your Weaknesses.  Buckingham defines a Weakness as an activity that consistently makes you feel weak, drained or bored.

You get it, right?

I got it about 3 years ago when I started to capture, clarify and confirm the daily activities that made me feel strong (my Strengths) and the activities that made me feel weak (my Weaknesses).

Wow!  What an eye-opener that was … and it still is!

I encourage you to do the same. It is WHAT you do that consumes your time.  Your efficiency of HOW you do things and your internal motivation behind WHY you do those things are not nearly as important to your success as WHAT you do.

You don’t have to believe me.  Just grab a few dozen 3×5 index cards and stack them in two piles.  Name one stack as your “Strengths Pile” (activities that make you feel strong) and name the other as your “Weaknesses Pile” (activities that make you feel weak).

Whenever you do an activity that makes you feel strong, just capture, clarify and confirm it because it’s highly likely that the WHAT you just did was one of your Strengths.

On the other hand, if you engage in an activity that makes you feel weak, make certain you capture, clarify confirm WHAT that activity is because it’s highly likely it’s one of your weaknesses.

The best book I’ve ever read on the subject is Go Put Your Strengths To Work by Marcus Buckingham.  I recommend you get two copies. Buy one for you, and one for someone else you trust who can become your Accountability Partner.

As for me, here are the 4 Core Strengths I’m aiming to strengthen in 2009.  I will never outsource these activities to anyone because these are the things that consistently make me feel strong:

1.  Strategic Planning (marketing/promotion campaigns)

2.  Digital Copywriting (blog posts/email broadcasts)

3.  Curriculum Design (workshops/teleseminars)

4.  Presentation Delivery (teaching/training)

In 2009, I’ll focus to strengthen my 4 Core Strengths and outsource other time-consuming activities to my Team, vendors, strategic alliance partners or colleagues.

I intend to personally undertake my company’s strategic planning, email and blog copywriting, course curriculum design and presentations delivery.

I will never outsource those business activities because those are the most important activities that make me feel strong.  They define me and complete me as an Entrepreneurial CEO.

What To Do Now: Evaluate what your own Strengths are.  Capture, clarify and confirm which specific daily activities make you feel strong.  What about your Weaknesses?  What activities make you feel weak, drained or bored?

This ultra simple act of identifying your Strengths and Weaknesses on ordinary index cards can create extraordinary changes in your life and the lives of others who rely on you each day.

There are dozens of Assessment Tools online, but the fastest, easiest and most reliable way to uncover your Strengths and Weaknesses is to take Marcus Buckingham’s advice and capture, clarify and confirm WHAT makes you feel strong and what makes you feel weak.

Do it in writing because the palest ink is better than even a world-class memory. And above all, do what it takes to resist the temptation to strengthen your weaknesses.

As my friend and coach, Dan Sullivan says, “If you spend too much time working on your weaknesses, all you’ll end up with is a lot of strong weaknesses.”

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