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David Squires

How To Stop Doing What Weakens You

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Sorry blog-followers, last week, I left you hanging.

If you read my article “Putting Your Strengths To Work: Step One”, based on the writing of Marcus Buckingham, I asked you to capture the work activities that you enjoyed doing and hated doing for one week.

(If you missed it or need a refresher — especially after two weeks — here’s the original article.)

Now that you have one week’s worth of data, it’s time to analyze it. Look at each of the activities and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it matter why I do this activity?
  • Does it matter who I do this activity with/to/for?
  • Does it matter when I am doing this activity?
  • Does it matter what this activity is about?

Your answer to each of these questions could be factors in your enjoyment of/dislike for each particular job.

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For example, perhaps you really like the gang at David Jones’s company and you might misinterpret the pleasure of hanging out with them for enjoyment of the act of selling. But you also might be able to further clarify that idea to say that you enjoy selling to a particular type of company — e.g. one with a young, fun staff.

Or, for another example, manually entering client names in a database might have been something that drained you one afternoon. But perhaps if you tried the same job in the morning, while listening to music, you might find it a relaxing way to start the day. Then again, maybe not. You might just really hate typing in data.

Anyway, that’s why this clarification process helps. By the end of the process, you should have at least one or two solid, specific strengths — things you enjoy doing and are good at. Plus a similar number of weakness — things you dislike and that drain your energy (whether or not you are good at them).

Your goal this week? Plan the next seven days, specifically, so that you spend more time working to the the strengths you’ve discovered and less time in your areas of weakness.

Of course, you’re wondering … how can you spend less time on things that weaken you? The simple answer is … Outsource, ignore, or change the way you do the job.

Let’s say you hate — absolutely hate, with the heat of a thousand suns — vacuuming your showroom carpet. But fact is, you’re a one-person business and there’s nobody else to do it. We couldn’t recommend ignoring the carpet. Your customers would notice pretty fast. As a last resort, you might try to turn vacuuming into a game — time yourself every time and try to set a record. But you might still end reaching the point where vacuuming the floor has so burned you out that you’re thinking of closing your business. If you’re at that state, you really should outsource the job — hire a cleaning company or a part-time cleaner.

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This could allow you to spend more time on the things that you love and are good at — developing custom designs for your customers — allowing you to serve more. And who knows, your new part-time cleaner might do a better job on your floors, bringing in even more customers. And so on.

That’s Buckingham’s point. Everybody wins when they work to their strengths. Life’s too short not to give it a try.


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