Many people think that in order to be successful they need to be perfect — perfect at business, perfect at the gym, and perfect when socialising with friends.
I’m here to tell you that’s not the case, and there’s no need to place that much pressure on yourself.
As I’ve written before, determination and persistence are the main predictors of success because perfection is an illusion.
But, and this is a very big BUT, that doesn’t mean you should accept your flaws.
Instead, what you should do is turn those supposed flaws into strengths.
It was a term coined by Sun Tzu in the book Art of War, and it the message is just as relevant today.
But how do you do that, I hear you ask?
Here’s a few starting suggestions.
1. Identify your flaws
This is the time to be really honest with yourself.
Do you sometimes fly off the handle when problems crop up? Do you avoid making difficult decisions?
Are you a procrastinator? Are you too self-critical?
If you don’t trust yourself to be honest — sometimes we really are our own worst judges — then ask someone you trust who knows you well.
And ask them to be brutally honest. It won’t be as bad as you think!
2. Change how you think about your flaws
Now that you have a handle on your flaws, you need to stop seeing them as roadblocks in your way.
We’re all a mixture of strengths and weaknesses and you need your weaknesses as much as you need your strengths.
You know that old saying: you can’t have the highs without the lows?
Well, it’s the same for strengths and weaknesses.
But you do need to think about how these weaknesses could impact your success.
Some of them will be less important. Others, you may discover, could be the weak spot that’s holding you back.
3. Identify your strengths
This part is a lot more fun than talking about your flaws.
I want you to write down your top five strengths.
This has nothing to do with your status, what you earn or how you look.
Dig deep and identify the character traits that set you apart from others.
Think you don’t have any? Think again.
We all have character traits that enable us to become successful.
For some it’s the gift of the gab. For others it’s their ability to listen and not interrupt, to really hear what another person is saying.
Are you great at business development? Do you love nutting out the details of a plan or are you a big picture thinker?
You’ll most likely struggle to list your strong points, so ask a friend or family member.
4. Develop a plan
Now that you have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to start thinking strategically.
Are there ways your weaknesses can enhance your good points? Do you tend to get so focused on things that you lose track of the big picture?
Ask yourself how you can apply this in a business setting and seek out opportunities that allow you to use your focus.
You may be the kind of person who is interested in everything and sees this lack of specialisation as a weak spot.
But take a look at your competitors, some of whom would no doubt be specialists.
How can you use your wider knowledge and general approach as an advantage in your field?
None of this can be done in a day.
Developing a plan to turn your weaknesses into strengths will happen over time.
It’s something you can add to and refine as you go.
The most important thing is to be open to the idea, and always looking for opportunities to maximise any natural advantages you have.
The interesting thing is: while everyone else is trying to capitalise on their strengths, you’ll be focused in using your flaws as a point of difference.
It’s a great strategy.