Throughout our lives, we're conditioned to focus on our weaknesses. In grade school, we focus on the classes we struggle with in order to lift our grades. When we start our professional lives, reviews often include "focus areas" or areas which we need to improve.
The trouble with focusing so intently on improving our weaknesses is that we end up neglecting our strengths. And ultimately it is from our strengths that we find the greatest success.
That's why, when I look at CEOs, I see two areas: strengths that need to protected and focused on, and weaknesses that need to be supported.
We are all born with innate talents, with activities or subjects we excel in. We know them because these activities excite us. They come naturally to us, and they give us energy and excite us.
The most successful people in the world achieve their success by focusing intensely on the areas in which they excel.
When you look at the world's most renowned athletes, artists, and business owners, you know they've spent countless hours working on improving their craft or talents. Steve Jobs, for instance, was a visionary, and he built a company from his talent in revolutionizing the we way we do things.
As CEOs, we have a limited amount of focus and energy we can give in any given day, and we need to spend that focus and energy on our strengths.
For some, that might mean setting the vision for your company. For others, it might mean getting out in the field and working directly with customers, or building relationships that drive the company forward. When we focus on these areas, we are at our most effective and have the biggest impact on our organizations.
For me, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur from an early age. I love business. I love casting a vision, and then building a team and organization that takes that vision and makes it real. So much so, that I get the same (if not more) satisfaction helping others accomplish these things as well. That's why today, I've built a business around my strength: helping other entrepreneurs grow and develop their businesses.
The trouble is, as your business grows, it's easy to get sucked into working in areas you aren't necessarily suited for, especially when your business is in the early stages.
When you're just getting past or not far removed from that "solopreneur" stage, it's natural to feel the need to control everything. What's more, when problems arise throughout your business, you'll feel the need to shift your focus to addressing those problems. But you don't have to control and solve everything. Be aware of and open about where your weaknesses are, and bring in people that excel in those areas to support you.
While I can wrap my head around operations, working on operations is something that takes a lot of painstaking time and effort for me to do. I don't enjoy it, and it always leaves me feeling drained. And that's just one of many areas.
However, I've built a team that supports me where I need it. There are people out there who thrive in operations the way I thrive in other areas, and I've brought in people some of those people to manage that aspect of the business for me. Doing so frees me to spend more of my time and energy focusing on where I can have the biggest impact.
So think about the things you enjoy doing most in your business and the things you are best at. Look at everything else you're doing that's outside of those areas, and see what you could delegate or bring someone in to cover.
When you do, you'll be surprised at the results. It may be difficult to let go at first, but when you do, you'll see your business move faster than before, and you'll feel more excited, passionate, and energized while driving it forward.
Alex and Cadey Charfen are entrepreneurs who've been fortunate to help tens of thousands of other entrepreneurs grow their small businesses. Reshaping an entire industry in the process, landing on the Inc. list of Fastest Growing Companies in America 3 years in a row.