One of the pitfalls of playing to your strengths is a tendency we all have of dialing in our performance when the activity involves a personal strength.
One of the definitions of a strength is the way you automatically fall into a rhythm of the activity. You’re a natural. You take to certain things like a fish swimming or a bird flying – it doesn’t take much effort to produce an adequate result.
And that’s where we run into trouble – at least I do.
I’m a good public speaker. Standing in front of a room full of people is something I’m really comfortable doing. It pumps me up. I look for opportunities to do it. The buzz from a speaking engagement can last me quite a while. Much more than vitamins or cardio exercise.
And here’s the rub:
Because it comes automatically, I am tempted at times to “phone in” my work. I can turn in an adequate performance without thinking about it; in my sleep, so to speak. Very often the audience has no idea I’m not fully engaged because my natural abilities carry me along.
When I fall prey to that temptation, the audience may not notice, the biggest loser is me.
Going on auto-pilot robs me of the rush I get when I’ve put every ounce of my soul into my work. Running on instinct will get me to the finish line, but it doesn’t make me feel strong.
The key to successfully using strengths to boost performance is to intentionally look for situations where you can apply your strengths. I even encourage people to create situations if there are none to be found.
When you play to your strengths, play to win; play harder than ever.
Don’t cheat yourself from the feeling of doing your best.