Play to Your Strengths and Win!
- December 11, 2017
- Winning Mindset
I once believed, as most people do, that the best way to increase our results was to improve our weaknesses. My life’s work as a motivational speaker and tennis coach has taught me the opposite is true. You play to win by playing to your strengths. Without question, your chances of winning are much greater by leveraging your strengths, and the likelihood of success is decreased by managing your weaknesses.
If we spend our energy using and improving strengths, we achieve better results and feel more positive about our potential. When we are involved in an activity utilizing our strengths, it feels natural, and we win more often.
In my presentations, I say, “Everyone has handicaps. Some you can see; some you can’t.” My point is we all have weaknesses. It’s universal. I define a weakness as an inherent limitation of capability that, despite our best effort to change it, will improve very little.
You will no longer be discouraged by weaknesses when you find your strengths. It isn’t necessary to ask whether you have strengths. Just like weaknesses, everyone has them. The better question is, “What are my strengths?” As you answer, try to be as specific as possible. People who are crystal clear on their gifts have the best chance of turning them into a superpower.
One barrier to identifying our strengths is overestimating our imperfections and underestimating our gifts. Here is an important point to keep in mind: People who win do not necessarily have more strengths than others. Instead, they have learned to utilize their talents, skills, and knowledge consistently.
By obsessing over our shortcomings and overlooking our strengths, we are playing to lose instead of playing to win. When we dwell on our blemishes, we have the tendency to avoid risk. Consequently, motivation suffers, and our mindset is pessimistic. These are characteristics of someone who plays to lose.
Once you identify your giftedness, you realize you don’t have to change who you are. You have everything you need right now to reach your potential. What likely needs to change, however, is your mindset, shifting your focus from weaknesses to strengths.
Playing to your strengths does not mean forgetting about your weaknesses. Rather, it is a matter of managing them. If your weaknesses are limiting your potential, work on those areas until you reach a level that’s acceptable. Most often that will be good enough. Remember, no one is exceptional in everything, but all of us are exceptional in something.
I am passionate about the subject of playing to your strengths because I have seen the impact this mindset has had in my own life. When I was preoccupied with my disability, the possibilities were invisible. Changing what I focused on changed the direction of my life.
When you decide not to let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can, here is the result. You play to your strengths and unlock your greatest potential.