Discover Your Strengths Through Weaknesses
Recognizing your own strengths and expertise can be...challenging? If you are an entrepreneur, parent or even just a person existing in this world, you have probably experienced self-doubt a time or two; unless you are just a remarkably confident person, in which case, keep going because you're awesome. I remember as a supervisor, I always dissected the the answer to the question "what are your weaknesses," because it was always the same generic answer..." I can't think of any." What this told me was they either didn't want to admit their weakness or they lacked the self awareness to improve upon them. Weaknesses are an incredible opportunity to grow and find solutions.
I recently met with another interior designer and her response to one of my comments really struck a chord with me. We were discussing a professional relationship I have that I know needs to change because it is not benefiting me in many ways, but I am struggling to find the right path to resolve the issues that are mutually beneficial. I owe this person a lot and want to make sure whatever decision I make improves my situation as well as theirs. Much to my husband's frustration, I haven't even come close to a resolution. I laughed it off and said "I'm such a pushover, I know." We then started talking about parenting in the new generation and dealing with the comments when our parents or others don't agree with our choices, at which point I identified how I handle the situation personally and stick to what I believe to be right. She responded, "you are not a pushover at all". You know what? She was right. In that moment I realized something about myself. I'm good at choosing my battles and identifying my passions. I haven't resolved this issue with my professional relationship because it isn't something bothering me to a point that I feel passionately about creating a change. When I feel passionately about something, I stick to my guns and find a solution. I don't like wasting my energy on conflicts that don't strike a chord with me.
So what am I saying exactly? I believe your weakness only truly "weakens" you if you ignore it. Ignoring an inefficiency only allows it to control you and create unnecessary struggles. but identifying it allows you to find a solution. To help you on your path to discovering your own weaknesses, I've identified some of mine below and how I have found a resolution.
Confession, I have a terrible memory, I always have. My mind is always racing with new thoughts, ideas and questions, which I guess just doesn't leave space for storing tons of new information. You can imagine how this might affect my business relationships if left unchecked. My solution? Automation and systems. For systems, whenever I get a new task from a designer, I enter it into the ongoing task list I keep on Trello with the Designer Name, Task/Project Name and Due date. All project information is stored in a Trello board created for each designer with a list for each project where all documents and communication are kept. This helps me to easily reference past communication if I need a refresher about a project and keeps me from being overwhelmed by emails. I also use my google calendar religiously so I can check it from my phone whenever necessary.
One of the things I disliked most about traditional job roles when working within a company is doing the same thing everyday. What I love about working in my own business is that I get to have my hand in everything. I get to learn about marketing, web development, systems/processing and the tons of other things that come with operating a business. Surely, I am perfectly okay handing some things off, but I could not imagined when I started how much I was going to grow as a business owner and person in the last year and a half. I have always found that when I started a new role, I completely threw myself into learning everything about it and then I was ready to move on to the next challenge. Since starting My Design Assistant, the challenges just keep coming and so do the opportunities to learn and get better.
I am always looking for ways to improve my level of organization because it isn't something that comes naturally to me. I do this through programs, systems and automation. I have used Ivy to manage my hours and billing almost since the beginning of my business. Ivy allows me to easily track payments, hours and perform invoicing without much additional time and effort. As I mentioned previously, I use Trello to manage my project details, information and due dates. Having these checks and balances allows me to stay on task, prioritize my time and ensure client satisfaction. This is especially important with long, ongoing projects that have multiple changes and adjustments. That desire to create smooth processes has lead me to the idea of creating a New Client Orientation package for interior designers. It will be available this Fall and I am so excited to share it with you guys! If you're interested, the release date and updates will be shared in my newsletter which you can sign up for here.
As a business owner, take a second to pat yourself on the back for all the hard work and dedication you have put into your craft so far. Entrepreneurship is not easy, but the reward is so amazing if you can keep going. The next time you are dwelling your faults and weaknesses, turn it around and think about the strength and opportunity on the other side. How has this way of thinking improved your life/business? I'd love to hear how you all use your weaknesses to move your personal and professional life forward.