Strengths and weaknesses… What areas do you excel in, and where are you lacking? Often, we try to stretch our boundaries. We want to get stronger in the areas where we’re weak. From a growth perspective, that can be a good thing. Constantly learning new things and stretching ourselves leads to growth. At the same time, there are moments where we need to step back and reassess.
Years ago, pre-OrangeBall, we worked with one of the most talented digital illustrators in the country. His work was magical. Through his illustrations, he possessed the unique ability to transport you to different worlds and make you feel fully immersed in whatever space he created. That was his strength.
While we were working together, there was a time when we tried to leverage his same talents in the area of logo design. Being such a talented illustrator, it made sense that he would easily translate those same skills into creating logos. After three or four attempts, we realized that this was not his strength. The strengths needed to create amazing digital illustrations were different from designing the perfect logo.
We found ourselves at a crossroads.
Sure, given enough time and energy, there is a chance we could have helped him become a solid logo designer. The investment in creating that would have been high. At the same time, there was also a chance that being a logo designer wasn’t ever going to be one of his strengths. It just wasn’t in the cards, and we were smarter to help him focus on the areas where he was strong rather than trying to create a new strength where it didn’t already exist.
Looking at the teams we work within and partners we’re connected with, we are surrounded by individuals that possess incredible strengths… strengths we don’t own. When we collaborate well, we naturally fill each other’s gaps and cover for those areas where we’re weak. That’s the beauty of working together. It eliminates the need to be all things to all people. Instead, we can focus on what we’re good at and passionate about and lean into others to leverage their strengths and passions.
If you’re reading this and you’re a small business or a solopreneur out there on your own, you might be thinking, “Yes, but I wear all the hats in my business. I have to be strong in EVERYTHING.” That’s not entirely true. Yes, being an entrepreneur will stretch you in unique ways, far beyond what you think is possible. At the same time, you must have the self-awareness to see those areas where you can leverage partners to help in those areas where you’re not skilled or lack passion.
No one can be strong in all things, and understanding your own limitations is part of being successful. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all spend our days trying to improve. It simply means we need to focus our energy on improving in the most important areas.
Yes, you can stretch yourself and the people on your teams beyond what anyone thinks is possible. Real growth requires that. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should try and shove square pegs in round holes. No one can be strong at everything. By surrounding yourself with the best teammates and partners, you fill those gaps and quickly accelerate your likelihood of success in all things.
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