"Be more aggressive, improve in math, fake it till you make it..." I have been working on my weaknesses my entire life. Every report card, job evaluation, magazine spread and sermon has provided another friendly reminder to tweak some aspect of myself. It has been an exhausting uphill pull, and after a lifetime of trying to accommodate these demands, including a decade in HR Management when I imposed this narrative on others, I've found that people come with certain innate gifts, talents and abilities as well as weaknesses and flaws. No amount of coaching and development will ever change the core of a person — thank goodness!

There are some who are incredibly talented in certain areas and when experienced from that specific, one dimensional perspective, might seem flawless, but take them outside of their element and an entirely different persona is likely to emerge. I have seen beasts of the boardroom totally flounder at socializing with employees at the company picnic and the most popular managers completely fail to meet their business objectives. Neither of these types is any better or worse than the other. They're just different. No one does everything well and those that really thrive typically do so by acknowledging their weaknesses and playing to their strengths

Take three of my favorite celebrity types for instance. Michelle Obama, amongst a whole host of magical things, is the most skilled orator and astute hype woman of our time. Dave Chappelle has an uncanny capacity for defanging brutal truths and cleverly transforming them into humor. Beyoncé is a phenomenal entertainer and an extraordinary vocalist. Shuffle these individuals, toss them into the others' lane and watch as complete and utter calamity ensues

They all came here to serve their own personalized brand of brilliant, which they have honed, developed and molded into perfection. What if they had spent that energy differently? What if they had focused their efforts in a direction opposite their innate abilities? I don't even want to imagine what a Michelle, Chappelle, Yoncé-less world would look like

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Photo: cravetv.ca

We are all far better off capitalizing on our strengths than giving unrelenting focus to our weaknesses. In fact, this school of thought is quickly gaining traction in several powerful arenas. Progressive schools all over the world are beginning to adopt the Montessori method — a system of education for young children that seeks to develop natural interests and activities, and a recent Business Journal gallup poll has produced data showing that employees who use their strengths outperform those who don't. No big revelation here, folks

There is nothing wrong with striving toward excellence in everything you do, as long as the goal is to become the best version of you. Your job is to figure out what makes you tick, where your talents and skill sets lie, and from this foundation you can determine your college major, your trade, your entrepreneurial hustle, or even your ministry. Customize your life to your gifts and get ready to fly!
The transition into adulthood isn’t an easy one. Navigating relationships, managing workplace politics, hitting those milestones on schedule— don’t be fooled, no one knows what they’re doing. There will be all kinds of fumbles, blunders and awkward missteps along the way. If you’re constantly wondering to yourself, “Am I doing this right?” Welcome. This is just the place for you.

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