Your Success is Determined by Designing Around Your Strengths – Do You Know Yours?

Like a lot of you, I have aspects of my business that I love, and parts that are a pain.

It’s no coincidence that what we love to do typically falls into the category of ‘our strengths’. When we concentrate on working our strengths great things can happen: we feel good, we build confidence and we get good results.

But, conventional business gurus often teach us to focus on fixing our weaknesses instead of polishing our strengths. Sounds like a formula for unfulfilling mediocrity to me.

I don’t know about you, when I’m focusing on improving what I’m not naturally good at, what I am naturally good at suffers and I don’t get the results I want.

That’s why I’m such a big fan of Peter Drucker’s work. If you’re not familiar with him, Drucker wrote and article in the Harvard Business Review in 1999 titled, Managing Oneself where he has a different take on working your weaknesses and strengths.

In his article he suggests…

  1. “…You cannot build performance on weakness and can only perform well from your strengths.”
  2. “…Most people are usually wrong about knowing their strengths…”
  3. “…The only access to knowing our strengths is from feedback analysis.”
  4. “…Accurate feedback comes from setting a plan and goals.” (An inspired plan).

I love this and I incorporate the principles in my work.

I find that the two key components here - good guidance and getting the right feedback - are the 2 most powerful tools for business owners to successfully grow their business.


Your results will reveal to you the most valuable feedback you could ever get.

What if ‘fixing’ your weaknesses (at the expense of your strengths) meant the difference between growing and closing your business? Which would you work on improving?

The Art of Reflection – How to Stop Living in Your Disappointments.

When you look back on your year are you hard on yourself? 

Most entrepreneurs are. 

Maybe it’s because when we do look back the parts that stay with us the longest are the disappointments we experienced. 

Why do we hang on to our disappointments? 

There is a lot of psychology behind all this and this post is not meant to be therapy, but in terms of your business it can be helpful to understand what’s happening. 

I do a design component at my events addressing this very thing where people look at their past year and, without fail, everyone forgets or downplays their victories. 

How do you get an accurate perspective on past accomplishments? 

To shed some light and appreciate what you’ve achieved during the year ask yourself the following questions.

During the year: 

1. What were your major victories in your business?

2. What were your major victories in your personal life?

3. What achievement are you most proud of?

4. What was the biggest risk you took?

5. What new skills, perspectives or insights did you gain that will positively affect your


6. What important life lesson(s) did you gain?

7. Did you have a major setback(s)?  If yes, how did you handle it and what was the final


8. What progress or ground did you take towards the future you are building?

What makes you happy about last year? 

Your responses can help you realize the full richness of your accomplishments and the lasting meaning that it has in your life – meaning that you may have been overlooking.

Looking Back in Order to Plan Ahead - How to End the Year in a Really Great Way

People have different relationships with the ending of one year and the beginning of another. Some people love this time of reflection and planning while others, not so much. 

Regardless of what side of the fence you land the end of the year always brings with it something else – the start of a new one and the chance to improve. 

Looking back in order to plan ahead can pay huge dividends in both our business and personal life. 

Many people hate looking back. Why is that?

When we look back on the current year it’s human nature to focus more on what went wrong instead of what went well. Regrets are natural.

Using this simple exercise this year I discovered that I was tired of struggling with a necessary (but annoying) component of my business that I dreaded doing. I learned it was draining my energy and passion and I regretted not doing anything about it sooner. So instead of struggling I hired a professional to take that part over.

What a huge learning – and relief - for me! I can now focus on what I’m best at, and love to do. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that without releasing some regrets.

How do you release regret?


Ask yourself some very pointed, very specific questions. And write down your very pointed and specific answers. 

At the top of the page write: 

When I look back at my year… 

What did I deal with, resolve or in some way handle for the first time? 

What did I decide I would never do again?

What lesson(s), painful or otherwise, did I learn? 

What did I improve or advance in some way? 

What new insights and perspectives did I gain? 

In what areas of my business/life did I succeed? 

In what areas of my business/life did I fail? 

What new life ambitions did I create? 

The real key to getting past the regret is to ‘recover’: rethinking and reframing past events allows you to let go and move forward. But you can’t do any of that without first acknowledging - the good as well as the bad. 

And remember, the insights don’t all need to be about the business. Using this reflection technique I rekindled my passion for learning how to surf.  Now I can look forward to building my business and recommitting to a personal passion this year. All I had to do was take a quick look at the current year before I plan ahead for the one coming. 

Too many of us drift from one year into the next without fully realizing what we’ve accomplished and what we can accomplish in the year ahead. 

Using these questions can help you understand and acknowledge what you’ve learned and can have a direct, and potentially huge, impact on your upcoming year – it has on mine. 

If you had one big disappointment from last year that you could reflect upon, acknowledge and release what would that be? How would letting that go help you in the year ahead?

Find out more about YOU... by answering 16 questions to wrap up your 2013!

There is still time to do this before January 1st.  When the New Year comes you won’t want to look back. Your focus will be on the year ahead. You would have missed this opportunity for 2013.

So here is why you should do this.

When you review your results for the year against your plan it gives you invaluable feedback about the areas of your strenghts.

In his 1999 Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Oneself”, Peter Drucker says that our performance will be strongest in the areas of our true strength. He says it’s a far better use of our time to work in those areas rather than trying to strengthen the areas of our weaknesses.

Peter goes on to say that many of us are wrong about the areas of our true strengths and that the only place where you can find those areas is through feedback analysis. You get this feedback by reviewing your performance and results at the end of the year against the plans you set at the start of the year.

By answering the sixteen questions in the downloadable file BELOW you will get some valuable feedback about the areas of your true strength.  Knowing this will help you perform better and have stronger results in 2014 and we all want that!



Peter Drucker - You cannot improve your performance if you don't know what it is!

If you want bigger results in your business development or sales activities you must work on your performance.  Performance is the action or process of carrying out or accopmlishing an action, task or function...  You cannot improve your performance if you don't know what it is.  

In his 1999, Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Oneself”, Peter Drucker talks about how great achievers have always managed themselves. In the article, he states: 

  1. “…You cannot build performance on weakness and can only perform well from your strengths.   
  2. “…Most people are usually wrong about knowing their strengths….  
  3. “...The only access to knowing our strengths is from feedback analysis.
  4. “…Accurate feedback comes from setting a plan and goals”.

Bottom line - the best feedback you can get is from setting goals and reviewing your results at the end of the year.