Over the years, I have been focused on how to grow my ability, skills, attitude, actions, and success. I have been re-reading the 2017 book by John C. Maxwell called "No Limits." I was reminded that "counseling helps people work through their weaknesses but equipping helps people work on their strengths." The older I get, the more I am convinced that when I take time to work on my weaknesses, I can minimize them to a degree, BUT when I work on my strengths, I can significantly move my success forward. I apply the Pareto Principle - the 80/20 rule, which is spending 80% of my time and effort working on my strengths and 20% of the time working to deal with my weaknesses.
In his book, author John Maxwell has a simple formula to grow your capacity: AWARENESS + ABILITY + CHOICES = CAPACITY. In a previous Minute with Mike (MwM), I talked about awareness, and in this article, I want to talk about the second part of the formula, which is ability.
Everyone has abilities based on their natural talents and gifts. We possess several general abilities to varying degrees and can grow. A few of them are:
1. Energy – the ability to push ourselves when things get challenging. John C. Maxwell reminds us that "momentum is not the result of one push but the result of many continual pushes over time." I recently reflected on an event I attended in California with Navy Seal Commander Mark Divine (Ret.). The event was a combination of teaching sessions and physical training. Many times during the week, I heard the phrase, "If you want to be pushed to your limits, you have to train to your limits." It is important in life to find a way to push ourselves when things are good and when things are challenging. This sustained push is the pathway to growth.
2. Emotions – the ability to manage our emotions. One of the questions I ask myself is, "what events in life throw me off balance?" When I figure this out, I ask myself, "what am I feeling, and what is at the root of my feelings?" This exercise helps me manage my emotions more effectively.
3. Thinking – the ability to think effectively. Nobel laureate Albert Einstein was credited with the phrase, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." There is an ability to think profoundly and sustainably that can help us to solve problems and generate innovative solutions. My good friend Dyke Rogers has a famous quote, "I know it can't be done, but if it could be done, how would you do it?" This phrase/question has helped me more than once change my perspective about a problem and discover the needed solution.
4. People – the ability to build relationships. If we want to be more successful, we must be able to have good relationships with people. "People can usually trace their success and failures to the relationships in their lives" John C. Maxwell. Some practical steps we can take – are to value people every day, ask for their opinion, put yourself in their world first, focus on benefiting others before ourselves, be consistent, and finally, believe the best about others.
Enjoy the journey of self-reflection, strategic planning, taking action, and enjoying the success it brings. Watch for another article on "Growing Your Capacity" by the "Good Choices" we make.