So often, we find ourselves focusing on the negatives. Whether we’re looking in the mirror or reflecting on the day at work, we tend to spend more time focusing on the one F on the report card rather than the numerous A’s. Sometimes our weaknesses stand out to us more than our strengths, and upcoming #ISPA2019 keynote Marcus Buckingham has spent over a decade exploring and discussing the dangers of succumbing to this way of thinking.
Buckingham’s goal is to examine where we devote the majority of our attention and shift the spotlight from our weaknesses to our strengths.
When our weaknesses are exposed, do we invest our resources into trying to (painstakingly) improve them or rather, do we invest in our strengths and attempt to build on them even further?
According to Buckingham, practicing and developing our strengths are the best ways to optimize our efficiency in the workplace. Doing this will leave us feeling happy and fulfilled—that’s why they’re our strengths! Conversely, trying to amend our weaknesses leaves us feeling exhausted and drained, not to mention discouraged. Buckingham does not deny the importance of self-improvement where it is needed, but his point lies further back in our lives than in our current workplace.
We are taught from a very young age to focus on what to fix rather than running with the activities and areas of study that we naturally excel in. Buckingham characterizes the U.S. education system as “remedial,” meaning that it is geared toward correcting areas of weakness first and foremost. This remedial conditioning is then translated into our professional lives, where we make draining attempts to deal with assignments or environments where we don’t thrive. Buckingham’s main message is that when people spend the majority of their time and energy making use of their strengths, their companies become more efficient and their lives become more rewarding.
Perhaps more vital in this industry than in any other, the hands and feet of all who work in health and wellness must be in fearless pursuit of the same kind of rewarding fulfillment that Buckingham talks about. ISPA is eagerly anticipating Marcus Buckingham’s keynote address at the 2019 ISPA Conference & Expo. Join us in the excitement by checking out his YouTube page and his new book, NINE LIES ABOUT WORK – A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World.