Recognize the Need for Improvement
Before you can begin to develop your strengths, you need to see that you need to improve. Self-confidence is good, but the worst thing about self-confidence is that it can leave you feeling as good as possible and have no room for improvement.
The first step is to see that everyone can improve. Progress does not mean bad for something. It just means you can do better. Even if you feel like you are the best at your game, you can always force yourself to be better at something.
You have to be willing to improve and you have to have some kind of foundation on which to improve. That foundation can be a raw talent or it can be knowledge gained through experience. I’m not trying to disappoint anyone in learning new skills. Obviously, starting something from scratch is possible, but it takes longer to improve on it than to develop something you are already good at or have a natural ability to do.
And the more natural talent you have, the more you can improve. Suppose you have a natural marketing ability and you can rate yourself as 6/10 as a salesperson. You can easily reach an all-star level of 9 or even 10/10. However, if you do not have a lot of natural talent in marketing – say, only 3/10 – you may only be able to reach the level of 7/10.
Therefore, accept what is naturally natural. Most people are unaware of their weaknesses and therefore may not believe that they need to improve on anything or get help to deal with their weaknesses. To help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, talk to someone you trust who can give you a reliable answer. Listen to what they have to say with an open mind and stop taking their negative reaction. View it as a learning experience and an opportunity to discuss areas that need improvement.
“Knowledge must be improved, challenged, and constantly improved, or it will disappear.” – Peter Drucker
Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses
This may seem like a contradiction in the first place. If you do not focus on your strengths, how will you overcome them or acquire them in those areas? When you think about it when it comes to learning the instrument, if you do one thing really well in the dust (say, switch between notes with a guitar), but you can’t do something else (like playing style), you need to practice something you can’t do to overcome that weakness and become a better player.
However, the instrument learning tool does not always work on self-improvement. Drucker says it’s best to focus on what you’ve already done well so that you can become an expert at it. Instead of being a good generalist, try to focus on being the best at one thing. That raises the question: What should you do about weakness, then?
Take away your weaknesses together
Obviously you can’t simply ignore what you are weak at. You need to find a way to strengthen the weakness, but you may be able to do it in partnership with others. If you are an A champion, but are fighting B, find someone who is very skilled at B, but who needs help with A. Together, you can focus on each other’s strengths while the other cares for your weaknesses.
To give you a real world example, many entrepreneurs, when starting a new business, try to do everything themselves. However, while it may be good to find new markets and to come up with business ideas, they may not be able to keep records or marketing. Thus, an entrepreneur can work with (or hire) a powerful person in those areas rather than spend his or her precious time trying to thrive in those areas themselves.
Resist the Urge to Compare Yourself With Others
You can only be your best, not the best of anyone else. Instead of focusing on what the other person can do or cannot do and how this affects you, learn to appreciate what they can do and how you can learn from them instead. Comparisons can leave you frustrated because you don’t think you’re doing something as good as someone else or they’ll just nurture your self-esteem if you see that you can do something better than someone else (and it can lead to a false sense of security with your topic information).
Create a Training Program
You will not get anywhere if you do not know where you are going. If you want to develop a set of skills or expand your expertise in the area, you will need to have a plan to do that. Find out what lessons you will need to do and make a plan that gives you the time and opportunity to do so. Identify mentors you can partner with and have a timeline to achieve this.
When you think of collaborating with a mentor, Drucker suggests approaching people who encourage and intimidate you. Depending on who you point to, you may not be able to communicate with these people, but if you keep your expectations and identify the people you shot at the meeting, you may find that some of them are willing to take on the teaching role (or at least be an acquaintance).
“There is nothing as useless as doing what is right that should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker
Measure Your Progress
The only way to see if you are getting better at something is to measure your progress with real results every time. How you do it will depend on what you want to measure, but it would be better to have something to put numbers on than to feel like you are improving or not. Having a reference number is the key to keeping your progress going. If you are trying to improve your marketing ability, for example, the obvious number you can use would be to increase your sales. Whatever you are trying to improve, it comes with a solid measure you can rely on to keep track of your progress.
By following Peter Drucker’s advice and realizing your need to improve, focus on your strengths, work with others, stop comparing, have a plan to improve and measure your progress, you will be able to progress and become an expert in your chosen field.
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