Strengths or weaknesses? Which should you focus on?

I was talking with a colleague a few weeks ago – and he had decided to take some aggressive action to make progress in his life. He started by asking those close to him to give him 2 lists: his top 5 core strengths and his top 5 key weaknesses.

My first thought was, how courageous.

I’ve done similar things before, and I’m not sure I’d go out and do it again. Oh, I’ll bite the bullet and ask for strengths, but it takes more courage to ask for weaknesses other people see in me. I mean, I know I have them, and others know I have them – so do we need to talk about them?

Lately though, I’ve begun to wonder. Is it worth our effort and energy to focus on removing or overcoming our weaknesses? Or does that detract from focusing on developing and learning to leverage our strengths and skills?

As human beings, living on earth, we have a finite supply of time and energy. And most people I know are trying to figure out how to leverage and make the most of both in their lives. So, I wonder, if we focus on our weaknesses, and dealing with those, are we really just getting in our way? Is focusing on the weaknesses just another form of distraction from our real goals?

If we focus on learning to manage and control and use our strengths, our skills, effectively in all circumstances, would that move us closer to where we want to be, to whom we want to be? If we focus on our strengths, will the weaknesses go away? or become less disabling? without direct attention?

Personally, I find for myself and my clients, focusing on strengths is where our power, enthusiasm, and energy come from. Focusing on our weaknesses tends to be disappointing, depressing, and draining. Focusing on the weaknesses also tends to provide excuses for not moving ahead, for not living or having the life we want. However, focusing on strengths – that’s empowering. Dare I say it, satisfying.

I have spent a lifetime looking at both strengths and weaknesses, of individuals, groups, systems, organizations. Its easy to say “this is broken, fix it”. Its more challenging to say “this is good, how do we make it better, use it more effectively.” And now, I’m wondering, does the real power to change truly lie in our strengths, and focusing our efforts there?

What do you think?

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Client Stories

What did you need at the time you hired Lori?


I wanted to work in my industry and didn't know how to progress any further than I was. I knew I had much experience that could be put in the industry of my choice but not how to parlay that experience. I needed guidance.

What did you and Lori do together?


Many, many things. Overall, to get clear in my mind what I offered and really what I wanted in a work environment. Every week was another epiphany after another. One of my favorites was the "knowing your core values". Having had some experience on this subject I was all ready to dive-in. Core Values is key. Knowing your core values. 

Lori makes it so easy to pinpoint. One time we were speaking about something else and we both realized...OMG...that is a core value for me. I hadn't written it down before, but discovered later that if ever a core value fit me...it was the one I mentioned at that time.  Knowing that piece of information also answered a long standing question in my head.  One of the "why's" as to my constant upset with other places I had worked.

What were the results from working with Lori?


Many things. One is a great looking resume. I thought, wow, I look good and it was all from work I had already done elsewhere but didn't know how to say it or present it. Another is the clarity of knowing where I will feel good when I do work. What I really want and with the kind of people I really want to work with on a daily basis. This entire process is so valuable. The best money I ever spent and I am not kidding or exaggerating. I was only hoping it would be valuable and it really was valuable.< I know stuff and it has value and is marketable. Lori showed me those things and it gives me confidence.

Anything else you’d like to add?


Lori delivers above and beyond. The highest quality of exchange, 'more than you expected.' I told my friends this over and over: 'I wish I had her 10-20-even 30 years ago.' Every one, and I mean EVERYONE, needs a Lori. Her understanding,patience, how she problem solves, putting things in simple terms, was mind blowing. I wish I could that well. I present a problem and she could turn it around and yes...another epiphany.

Lori, is worth every penny. It isn't about a title. It is about enjoying everyday doing work you love with people you like and are like minded. You'll know what you are looking for when you interview.  I never say this, but I will say it here. Lori is a major key into the rest of my life doing what I always wanted to do. That is: Being happy doing what I do, everyday. Something I have been saying for years. Allowing Sherlock...to be Sherlock.  Finding my people. They are out there and now I know what I am looking for in that respect.

LORI ROCKS!!!!!!

Sherlock Ganz, Los Angeles, CA