Optimizing Strengths Over Mending Weaknesses

You hear stories all of the time of iconic figures who made their way to greatness by outworking their competition. There’s a famous story about Kobe Bryant that he told in an interview with HBO, in which he said that he scored 63 points in a basketball game at eight years of age.


He said that he knew the other kids struggled to dribble with their left hand, so he put extra pressure on their right hand and stole it from them when they had to switch to their left. 

After hearing that story, you would think that improving your weaknesses is an imperative action to compete in your field. However, mending your flaws can only get you so far. Optimizing your strengths is what is the most essential part.

The fact of the matter is, as business professionals, we all want to maximize our strengths and minimize our deficiencies. In that Kobe Bryant story, it sounds like those kids had to work on dribbling with their left hands, right? Definitely, but there’s more to it than that. 

Sports are a useful example that there are the elite players, and then there are the role players. We can all aspire to be the Kobe Bryant of our field, but we all can’t do that. Kobe ended up winning a lot of championships, not alone, but with a team of players who filled other roles like rebounding, making clutch shots, and playing good defense.

In the workforce, we need to hone in on our skills to be purposeful and employable. Our strengths make us stand out more than our weaknesses. Not only that, we all play a specific role like pieces of a puzzle. If we all aspire to do the same trade or service, then there would be no jobs. We all fulfill a role that completes a company, and we all have individual strengths that make a company thrive when combined with other people’s strengths. Ask your co-workers what they see your strengths as being, and make a list. Pick one of those strengths to start optimizing, then once you have strengthened that one, move to the next one.

In marketing we have experts in social media, graphic design, videography, management, and advertising. Despite all of us being marketers, we have individual strengths that make our marketing significantly stronger. If someone in graphic design struggles with video editing, it is more beneficial for them and for the whole business to focus more on advancing their graphic design ability rather than video editing. This isn’t to say you cannot learn a new skill, just that it is better to put attention and priority on advancing the skills you currently have.

Excelling at one specific role will not only make you stand out, but it will lead to more fulfillment and pride in your work. Concentrating on progressing your strengths further in your everyday tasks, rather than trying to “fix” your weaknesses will lead you to more efficiency and success.