As a kid, I recall my teachers pointing out my weaknesses and advising me to spend time and energy on those areas (like improving my grammar), instead of working on my strengths (like expressing my creative ideas through writing). Since then, I have taken not one but two university grammar courses. It was like I was sitting in a class where everyone was speaking German and the bad news for me is…I don’t speak German! My time and money would have been better served if I had invested in developing one of my strengths.
My experience in the corporate world had a similar focus, with managers wanting employees to improve in the areas where they are weak. Surely entrepreneurs have it made to where they are, leveraging their strengths because they have the freedom to structure their day, right?
As a solopreneur, there are a lot of activities that are NOT in my wheelhouse, ones that drain my energy, that I’ve had to do over the years. Activities that weren’t my superpowers. Now let me ask you…in a typical day, how often are you utilizing your superpowers? Wherever you are on the continuum, this is your opportunity to get clear and dial-up using your powers.
Defining Your Superpowers:
In order to identify whether you are fully leveraging your superpowers/strengths in your business, the first step is to clearly define what they are. Marcus Buckingham, the author of Go Put Your Strengths to Work, says that there are three aspects that make up a strength:
- Talents: Those innate things that we are born with (empathy, competitiveness, assertiveness, etc). You can use resources like Clifton StrengthsFinder if need some help with this
- Skills: Things that can be learned (i.e. negotiation tactics and strategies).
- Knowledge is also learned (i.e. understanding market trends and industries).
Think about all of the activities you do in your business in a typical week and highlight the ones that meet the following criteria:
- You are effective and successful at
- You look forward to doing these activities
- When you are doing them you are focused and in the zone
- After completing them, you feel authentic, fulfilled, energized
These are likely your superpowers. Buckingham recommends using the criteria above to create three “I feel Strong When…” statements around your findings that are detailed. For example, one of my statements based on my superpowers is: I feel strong when I am brainstorming ideas for my business or for others that are new, innovative, and different.
Maximizing Your Superpowers:
Once you have your top 3 superpower statements, it’s to think about what a strong week looks like. One where you maximize your strengths. Think about any opportunities where you can work your magic.
Commit to taking two actions next week that will allow you to put your strengths to work in your business.
As a solopreneur, I have gotten creative on how to free up more space to engage in my superpowers. Here are a few tips:
- Find a strength buddy. I’ve helped others with activities in their businesses that fuel and energize me in exchange for them working their magic in the areas of my work that drain me. If you work with a team, this is a great exercise to do as a group so that you can leverage each other’s superpowers.
- Cough up the cash. I have also paid for services to take care of the things I hate doing to so that I can instead leverage my strengths.
- Accountability. Get an accountability partner or group that will help you achieve your plan for maximizing your strengths.
Now get out there, get creative and have FUN maximizing your superpowers!