Should I focus on strengths or areas I could improve?

Lee Richardson
First we need to identify our Strengths and Weaknesses.


Strengths and weaknesses can be identified in many areas of both our personal and work lives. Issues that affect us personally. Are likely to negatively impact on our work performances and vice versa. So our strengths and weaknesses could come from the following list as well:

  • Character issues – integrity, discipline, attitude, forgiveness, humility etc.
  • Habits – healthy living, organised, regular exercising, restful/mindful etc.
  • Personality qualities –Accommodating, Collaborative, Adaptable, Analytical etc.
  • Emotional abilities – Controlling anger/frustration, fear/courage, ability to perceive/empathise what others feel.
  • Knowledge/Experience based skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Communication skills

The original question is not as simple as it might first appear. When trying to develop ourselves. Do we focus on making everything that we are good at, better? Or do we try to improve the things, we already know we are not so good at. Or a combination of the two.


A combination of the two is important. While strengths can still be developed. Think about how you felt. When you were first able to perform 5, 10 then 100 keep-ups with a football or with a cricket bat and ball. This felt good didn’t it. Why stop at a 100? When the improvement of that skill would lead to better overall technical ability? As a professional or aspiring professional in a sporting or other discipline. It is crucial that we maintain a Mastery focus and try to constantly develop our skills and knowledge in order to self-improve and achieve our goals.
But where do the weaknesses fit in?
How do we define a weakness? Is this a technique or skill that we don’t possess or is it just less advanced relative to our strengths? It might be useful to assess the specific weaknesses you identify. And try to decide whether it will prevent you from achieving your goals. It may be that in order to improve all aspects of the desired field or discipline. We need to develop a serious weakness to a more acceptable level.

Unacceptable Weakness

For example: within a football game. A player may have the same delicate touch on the ball, spatial vision and awareness as “Lionel Messi”. But if that player does not have the physical ability to allow these skills to be carried out. Then this weakness will completely overshadow or cancel out the players undoubted strengths. A focus on the specific weakness would probably be required.
For most people in all disciplines. A balanced view might lead to improving both “strengths and weaknesses” in order to gain maximum benefit. See the ZengerFolkman article. Therefore, if there is no obvious fatal weakness that is affecting your ability to achieve your goals. Then working on both strengths and weaknesses can be more beneficial than focussing on weaknesses alone.

Performance cycle

Focusing and developing your strengths and weaknesses. Should be carried out at the appropriate time. Namely in practice sessions and the actual “focus” should not be confused with the time spent preparing for performance.

When preparing for performance using imagery techniques and self-talk emphasis should be placed on the strengths you possess. It is at the performance preparation stage. Where emptying the mind of thoughts of weaknesses. Will help to increase motivation as well as reducing the possibility of negative thoughts taking over.
It might be useful to create a personal development plan. Write down and commit to the tasks and activities that will help you turn unacceptable weaknesses into areas to improve further and then into Strengths. Use something like the Aim-For App. Based on the Pillars model this app will help you take additional steps in becoming the best version of yourself.