Most people are ambitious, but the harsh truth is the reason most people do not achieve their biggest goals is because they never develop the skills required to achieve those goals. Most people dream of a lifestyle similar to those in the top 1%, but their day to day habits and traits are vastly out of sync with those in the 1%. Do you think Elon Musk spends 3 hours a day watching Netflix for example? Or do you think Elon Musk spends those same 3 hours learning about a topic he feels will add value to him and his business? So, if you have established what your personal vision is for your life, the next step is to understand where you currently are and what you need to develop in order to make your personal vision a reality.
The most effective way to understand what you are good at and what you are not good at is to deploy self-awareness which is one of the key components of emotional intelligence. The easiest way to think about self-awareness is to think of it as three key elements. Are you emotionally aware? This means, do you understand why you respond with certain emotions in certain situations. For example, what causes you to get frustrated when your spouse asks you to wash the dishes, or why do you just really dislike that person you barely know in the office. The second is an ability to accurately self-assess. This means you are very aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You know you are great at excel but suck at putting together a commercially viable business case for example. The final part is self confidence as it takes someone with a lot of confidence to openly admit their faults and actively work on improving them. Admitting you have a problem is often the hardest step to take. In other words, self-awareness is all about knowing your emotions, your personal strengths and weaknesses and having a strong sense of your own worth to work on improving yourself.
Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, along with developing self-awareness is critical to your personal development journey as you strive to achieve your personal goals. With that being said, very few people have a natural ability to instantly know exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are. So, there is a shortcut that you can take in order to help accelerate the journey and it is one I have taken myself. This is to take one (or several) of the personality and strengths finding assessments available. These usually take the form of a questionnaire backed up by a significant amount of psychological analysis behind the scenes which will help inform you as to what you are currently strong and weak in. There are a number available for free online, but the best ones come with a fee of some sort. I am personally biased towards the Saville Wave assessment which I am personally certified in, but there are loads of others also available. SHL, Mettl, GC Index and Hogan Assessments are all tools I have also experienced first-hand and used in some form or another throughout my career.
Align the analysis to your goals
Once you have your results, you are going to have one of two responses. The first is that you are going to look at them and go, yes that’s pretty accurate. It’s not nice to see, but you have enough self-awareness to accept what is being shown. The second response is that you just refuse to accept there is anything you are not amazing at, at which point I direct you back to my comments about self-awareness at the start of this article. I am going to assume you all fall in to the first category and now that you have clarity on your strengths and weaknesses, its important to remember that not every weakness needs to be improved.
There is this mistaken belief that every weakness needs to be improved which is incorrect. For those of you who follow football, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are not good goalkeepers, but there is also zero reason they need to learn how to be a good goalkeeper. The same is true of you and your own development. If you are not trying to become a goalkeeper, you do not need to worry about being a good goalkeeper. If you want to become a strategic leader, it does not matter if you have a weakness when it comes to doing administration and having attention to tiny details. Hire someone to work for you who does the admin and checks the small print. But if you want to be a public speaker, you probably should work on a weakness if it is being nervous presenting to large crowds. So, identify the key areas that actually need to be developed in order to help you achieve your goal. Finally, its important to also remember that personal development is a life long journey, so if you have 14 development points, that is OK, you are not going to be the finished article and achieve all your life goals in 18 months. Lasting change takes time.