Work on strengths or weaknesses?… A story about finding your passion.

Develop your passion.

I grew up in a big family and our mother worked during the day and at night she went to college.  A true example of dedication and passion for what she believed in.  So, you can imagine that there was little time for her to investigate what each of her 4 sons were passionate about. We all went to baseball summer league, boy scouts, karate and were part of the swimming team.  I did not enjoy most of them but staying at home in front of the television was not an option.  My mom believed in hard work and if you were not good at something, hard work would pay off.  And it did but I did not enjoy it. As I got older and started making my own decisions, I did not pursue any of those activities. I only realised years later the benefits of my mother pushing us to be dedicated to everything we did.

Get out of your comfort zone

I am a firm believer of continuous improvement and how working on our weaknesses will make you achieve ambitious goals.  During my years as a physical trainer and health coach, I have witnessed so many transformations by individuals achieving the most incredible goals.  However, most of these achievements were not sustainable over time.  The real success came after.  When the person started believing in his or her strength to achieve whatever they set their minds to.

We used Crossfit as a method of changing the mindset of our athletes.  The fact that everyday there was a different workout targeting different areas like stamina, endurance, strength, balance, accuracy, flexibility, power, speed, coordination and agility, will make everyday a challenge.  Just as in life, there are good days and bad days but we get the job done anyway.  The fact that the athletes need to be prepared for whatever the coach throws at them, will make them more fit to face real life situations.

Working on weaknesses will not make a fish climb a tree but will certainly make that fish have a stronger will.  That is what I strongly believe in.  However, over the years I have started asking myself “yes, but will that fish be happier?”.  When you excel at something, you have a feeling of achievement and fulfillment. The opposite of course when you don’t excel, is the feeling of frustration.

Strength Psychology

Recently a wonderful book crossed my path, Strengthfinder 2.0 by Gallup and Tom Rath.  It was an enlighting book that made me think about a different perspective.  It had an assessment called CliftonStrengths®. This assessment gives you your strengths and how to make use of them to excel in life.  Basically, it tells the fish to swim and the monkey to climb trees and how to place themselves in activities and teams that guarantee that they use their strengths to excel and be recognized for it.  This will enable you to enjoy what you do and achieve goals that are sustainable.

Females working on strengths

I do believe that diversity in management positions is nothing but positive for corporations.  However, I also believe that we are still far from giving women a fair chance at excelling as leaders.  Learning curve expectations are more demanding for women, at least that is my perception.  This is where working from strengths will give an extra edge to female executives when proving themselves.  Unfortunately, we still live in a world where female workers are pushed into leadership positions because it looks good rather than believing that it is a must to continue evolving to a merit-based culture that ensures we have the best PERSON for the job in every position.

There is not a one-size-fits-all solution

Although I found no pleasure in swimming training and being the least talented swimmer I have ever known, my mother made sure that I showed up for practice every day for three years and from that I learned that there is no substitute for hard work.  There is a need for putting ourselves out of our comfort zone to build resilience and character.  But also, all human beings have the absolute right to be happy and to pursue their life goals with passion.  Working from our strengths guides us on the right path in achieving our purpose and happiness and working from our weaknesses, teaches us to work hard to stay on that path.  What a beautiful combination!  Cheers!


Author: Ricardo Mock

Africa 24/7 Marine Manager at Maersk Line, Cape Town. Psychologist, Certified Crossfit Trainer, Health Coach and Motivator. Experience working in Project Management (Operations, Human Resources and Sales), innovation driving change. Specialties: Project Management, Sales, General Operations, Lean Six Sigma (LSS GB Certified), ERP´s implementation and Change Management. MBTI Profile: ENFP-T

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