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The Best Laid Plans or How to Overcome Your Weaknesses


I'm a really rubbish planner. My Strengths Profile backs this up. My brain just doesn't work that way. I can tell you where I want to get to. I can tell you what my first action needs to be and I will get into action-taking immediately. BUT I can't easily see all the in-between steps. And I certainly can't tell you how long it will take to execute.

I am notorious in one group of friends for estimating that every hike to a pub takes about one hour. That is whether it's actually 3 miles (about one hour) or about 8 miles. More than once, we've had to phone ahead to the pub and let them know that we're going to be late for lunch. I'm not allowed to plan what time we're leaving any more...

Then, I was in the car with my husband this weekend and he wanted me to direct him to a certain road using the map, which I was happy to do. He then ascertained where we wanted to end up, which I could tell him. And then, how we were going to join up the beginning and end of our journey. Er....

Do you ever experience brain freeze? That's when you're trying to use your Weaknesses and it doesn't work. You're rubbish at it.

But all is not lost! (btw, there's an exclusive offer for you at the end of this email which might help)...

Overcoming a Weakness

I have to make a plan, right? I run a business. Well, for the first few years of my business, I created something that looked like a business plan but quickly got put into the online equivalent of my bottom drawer (the folder in Dropbox where plans go to die).

Whilst my business was thankfully doing OK, I realised that my lackadaisical attitude was not going to help me achieve the big things I wanted to. I needed a Plan B (yikes, no way out).

I started doing things differently and unwittingly distilled FOUR things that you need to do to overcome a Weakness. Here they are:

  1. Stop trying to improve your Weakness - this is the first and worst mistake you can make. Everyone does it. They look at the Weaknesses in their Strengths Profile report or from feedback and indignantly try to deny it or make plans to improve it. You're wasting your time here. Get over it, own it and move on please.
  2. Get support - if you're rubbish at detail or time optimisation or adherence or whatever, find someone who is good at it to help you. At work, this could be finding a "strengths" buddy in your team - someone who is good at the stuff you're not. In a business this could be outsourcing or getting a coach (both of which I did to help me with planning).
  3. Steal someone else's idea or system - if you really need to use this Weakness at work, there will no doubt be an idea, habit or system that you can steal from someone else. There will definitely be people out there who have also struggled with this thing and may have written a book or blog of how they overcame it. Hunt that down and start using it. I use Michael Hyatt's Full Focus System to help me plan.
  4. Reframe the activity - start looking at the activity in a different way and work out how you can use your energising strengths around it. Make planning more attractive by seeing it as a creative activity OR make detail more attractive by attaching it to your mission OR make adherence feel lighter by looking at it as an adventure.

I am just coming up to the time in my business when I have to plan for next year. This year is the first year that I've properly made a plan, had the right system in place to achieve it and actually experienced it as an enjoyable activity. I'm even looking forward to creating my annual plan in the coming weeks.

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