Are there any parts of your job or life that you hate?
Do you find yourself avoiding important tasks because you dislike them and get bad results? It’s simple: we like doing what we are good at. And the converse is also true: We dislike doing what we are bad at. But the trick here is that we can use the rule to our benefit by using it in reverse: “We can find more enjoyment in work when we suck less at the task.”
By getting better at a weakness, we will avoid it less. Life (and work) isn’t all about doing what we like and what we are good at. Sometimes we just have to do things we don’t like, whether this is for your boss or something that’s for your own benefit. So we have two choices: We can either exist in dread, delay and bad results OR we can find some enjoyment by getting better at it. It’s like using a trick to eat more vegetables - learn how to make vegetables tasty and then you’ll like eating them more.
For example I used to hate doing performance communication. When I spoke to people:
I didn’t know how to make it feel like a normal conversation instead of a horrible conflict. When an employee did something wrong, the unpleasant part wasn’t just the mistake, it was also the prospect of having to confront them,
This meant I avoided these “unpleasant communications”, until,
I’d end up in long disputes, trying to prove that I was right and
People didn’t listen, which is to say I failed at changing their behaviour
No wonder I avoided difficult communication. And to make it worse, I was so ignorant that I didn’t even know how bad I was.
But then I learnt a proper communication methodology that showed me how to address these issues. And instead of avoiding communication, I’ve started using it for all sorts of things. I use it for performance communication with employees and I use it to talk about difficult interpersonal issues.
Now the tricky part with this is that in the areas where we have blockages, often these blockages arise because of a blind spot. For example I thought I was a good communicator, in fact most people think they are good communicators because they understand themselves. And clearly if you can understand something but someone else can’t, then the problem is them, not you. But beware that this is wrong because when I learned about effective communication, I found out that being right doesn’t matter. I learnt that writing long emails doesn’t work because people aren’t paying attention. Instead you just get frustrated and blame others.
To be successful you have to learn how to communicate so that people listen to what you say. And that’s about your communication skills to get your message across. It’s not about their ability to understand. This is empowering because instead of my success being in the hands of others, I now have the power to do something about it. Previously this was a major blockage to my personal success and happiness. But because it was a blind spot, I didn’t even know about it.
So to Identify Things You Hate or Avoid,
Have a look at your job description and consider the activities you do in your job.
What are your least favourite activities? What do you avoid?
Do these tie in with a lack of success?
If so then the reason you hate these activities is because you’re not good at them. In the longer term you may be able to change your job to avoid your weaknesses but for as long as you have to do them you may as well learn to get better at them because:
Getting better is a proven route to improve your enjoyment
You’ll get more satisfaction and confidence because you will be more successful
Getting better means you’ll spend less time on these unpleasant tasks and
You’ll be doing your job better which gives you more room to move
Now just a few warnings:
In general, you will get more success when you concentrate on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Except where your weaknesses represent a blind spot or a blockage
It’s not sufficient to only rely on your own opinion because we can’t see our own blind spots by definition,. The solution is to get external input such as from your boss, a behaviour profile or socially which is covered later
Next Steps: Self-Leadership: Developing Yourself
An important part of working on our weaknesses is identifying the things we hate/ avoid. When we get better at weaknesses we will avoid them less! To be a better self-leader start with improving your self-leadership skills with self-leadership training. Self-Leadership: Developing Yourself is a quick, online training course that you can use to kick-start your self-development.
Do you have any comments, questions or tips about self-leadership, developing yourself or working on your weaknesses? Please share in the comments below.