Do you do what you do best most of your time?
Chances are, you don’t :(. It could be because you don’t know precisely what you do best or you don’t have the opportunity for it, or it might be both…
According to Pareto’s principle, you are able to generate your important results (80%) by focusing on your strengths (20%). Anything that does not fall in your important 20%, that is your strengths, you should look for other ways to be done.
The purpose of the Pareto method is to achieve great success with the least possible effort.
Aligning as much of life as possible around your talents and strengths
Pareto, an Italian scientist, discovered that 80% of the wealth of his time was generated by 20% of the people. Or with other words, the Pareto Principle holds that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts. Conversely, 80% of our work is relatively ineffective.
This principle claims something very profound: It is the little things that account for the majority of results.
The 80/20 rule permeates every part of your life and can also be used in terms of strengths and weaknesses – by focusing on your strengths (20%), you are able to generate your important results (80%). Anything that does not fall in your important 20% or your signature strengths, you should find the way for not doing it or getting appropriate help or support for it.
Therefore, knowing your talents and signature strengths is fundamental to be able to create experiences around them.
But usually, we don’t look at our best moments intentionally, therefore, somehow happen more or less accidentally. And because we are not able to pinpoint what makes us thrive, it is difficult to control them deliberately.
Recognize what makes you feel energized and excited
All too often, our natural talents go untapped. Most of our life, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.
But the most successful people in any field in the world have contrary kept their focus on their strengths and not their weaknesses. The more you know what makes you tick, the more chance you have for success in life.
Therefore, everything starts by recognizing what makes you thick and energized. When you shine and feel full of energy, those are the times when you are using your natural talents and strengths. The more you are aware of them, the more you can focus on them and create your life around them.
There is an important aspect that you have to be aware of when it comes to recognizing and developing your innate talents and signature strengths.
Don’t think of strengths as things you are good at and weaknesses as things you are bad at.
If you are good at something, it does not necessarily mean that this is the skill you want to play at. It’s possible to be good at something you don’t enjoy doing or even hate doing, but that’s not the type of strength you necessarily want to improve.
Instead, think about how activities make you feel – when you feel energized and excited – even if you are still learning them, and you don’t excel at them yet. There may be the strengths you set out to develop and grow.
Your emotions and feelings are distinguished aspects of talents. Strengths make you feel strong and secure; weaknesses make you feel weak.
Once you recognize your talents and strengths, start paying detailed attention to them, look at where and how they are showing up in your life, especially in what kind of circumstances they can be at its best. More you pay attention to these aspects more precisely, you will be able to pinpoint what energizes you and what kind of circumstances drain you.
When you know your own signature strengths, you can make informed decisions about your daily actions because you are actively choosing to put yourself in a position where you will use your best. And more you put yourself in situations where you can express your innate talents, more you feel engaged, or let’s say “in the flow.” And consequently, your productivity, performance, and self-confidence grow and evolve. Even your daily obstacles transform into challenges as you are able to approach them from a different corner.
Use your calendar to review how you spent your time, energy and effort
In order to get even more precise idea on how and where you spend your time, energy and effort, map out your typical day/week and find your own percentage – estimate what percentage of time you spend in activities that engage your talents and signature strengths, and how much time you spend in areas of your weaknesses.
Start by brainstorming all of the activities you engage in during a typical day or week.
Capture as many of your daily and weekly activities as possible. Then try to pinpoint which of your talents & strengths or shortcomings & weaknesses you were using during each activity and describe how you felt during or after the activity.
After you have written down your entries about your activities for at least a week, write down the estimated percentage of your time you were spending engaged in activities that utilize your natural talents and strengths.
If you currently find yourself at 30/70 on the non-strengths side – it’s okay because at least you are now aware of it.
Now, to go further, make space for positive changes in order to make your list of activities full as possible with activities that fall into your talents & strengths zone and also awake your positive emotions and feelings.
Your goal should be to move toward 80/20 rule as much as possible.
You can simply begin by shifting it a little at a time. First to 40/60 and then 50/50 until you reach the 80/20 ratio. This could take a while, or it could happen quickly. The key is that you continue in that direction until it happens.
Begin the process of redesigning your work-life by considering:
➡ What can I eliminate?
➡ What are my energy and timewasters?
➡ What can I delegate?
Try to eliminate those tasks that do not bring in much by way of results. If you can do so, delegate them to other people better able to complete those tasks for you so you can spend more of your time each week on tasks. This will give you a much better return on your time/energy/effort investment.
Aligning your signature strengths to your daily tasks still may not make all of them your favorite things to do, but it will ensure that you are losing less energy.
Sometimes even small changes can make a significant impact, like shifting your schedule or adjusting how you approach the meetings. For instance, if you have a talent for making things happen by turning thoughts into action, you might become impatient with the meetings where it is all about long discussions and no real conclusions and actions executed. Being part of a meeting like this for you means losing a lot of your patience, wasting your energy, and time. What you can do here to keep your energy level up is to make it your role in meetings to be in charge of action items before the group dismisses. Your drive to make things happen can be the push that many groups need to move from discussion to action. This small shift can help you to stay engaged and motivated during the meeting, and not just waiting for the time passes by that you can finally start with the real work, that is, actions.
To get the most from your career, you should mold your work around the experiences in which you work most naturally, and in which you lose yourself while working. This way, your intrinsic motivation will increase.
“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” Benjamin Franklin