It’s all about using your strengths in order to be consistent!
Try as you might, you are never going to excel at everything. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Those who appear to be the strongest, however, are the people who know how to best use their strengths to camouflage their perceived weaknesses. They do this by emphasizing their strengths as well as utilizing their strengths to compensate for their weaknesses. They know the value of being consistent and reliable. It’s all about creating and projecting the persona that is consistent overall, even though some abilities or traits may still require some tweaking, strengthening, and improvement.
This leads to the importance of going to the driving range—the self-improvement plan—and then the actual game, where you utilize your strengths to make your best play!
At the driving range, your practice and hard work are what develop your consistency!
In golf, if you want to break 100, 90, 80, or 70, you need to be consistent. This means that you can repeatedly make the same shot on demand. Obviously, the better you are at being consistent, the lower your score will be. The five most important fundamentals that lead to consistency are your grip, your ball position, your alignment, your tension level, and your balance from address to the end of your follow-through. The best place to strengthen your abilities and develop your proficiency is at the driving range. Many people have their favorite practice and warm-up drills and swear by them. I generally use my “Hit ‘til you’re happy” drill as follows:
1) Warm up by stretching and swinging loosely for at least five minutes.
2) Take a large bucket of balls and start hitting my clubs from shortest to longest.
3) Take a practice swing with the club, and then hit balls until I’m happy. Usually, this means five solid, clean shots, well executed with proper direction. Then I move on to the next club and repeat the process until I reach my driver. (I always save my driver for last, as it is my favorite club, and I usually try to be as efficient as I can during the drill so that I have a lot of balls left to enjoy! Woo hoo!)
4) Finally, when I run out of balls, I head to the
practice green to work on chipping and putting, until I’m happy.
I tell you this because, in this way, I can calculate my consistency. For example, if I have to hit ten balls in order to hit five that I am happy with, then my consistency is only 50 percent. My overall consistency is a more meaningful percentage, but I can still use my club-by-club analysis to see where I need to improve. Therefore, the next time out, I can focus on hitting the clubs that I am not as consistent with more often, in order to upgrade my overall consistency percentage.
We all have strengths that we try to accentuate whenever possible. It’s the put-your-best-foot-forward mentality. Sometimes, we also use our strengths to camouflage a self-perceived weakness. Really, that’s okay, too. At that place in time, you are again trying to put your best foot forward.
Now this is what happens when you hit the golf course. You are no longer in practice mode. At this point, it’s game on. So, for example, if you are slicing the ball repeatedly, you need to try to make some adjustments as you play and compensate as best you can. A number of circumstances could be affecting your game. You may not have had time to warm up, or perhaps you are feeling rushed. The point is, on the golf course, your focus is on course management and scoring well. You need to use your strengths to make this happen. Take your best shot! Later, at the driving range, you can use your notes from your game scorecard detailing your mishits and work on fixing them.
Therefore, as you can see, it’s very important to know what you are doing right, where you excel, and how to use your strengths to your advantage. In addition, it’s equally important to recognize your weaknesses, those low-consistency areas where you can work toward building yourself up to gain a higher consistency rating overall.
The same stands true in the workplace. You need to develop an overall consistency of professionalism and the right skill sets. You need to assess your strengths and weaknesses honestly. Then you can use your strengths to compensate for your weaknesses or shortcomings until you are able to strengthen them. Perhaps further education, training, or experience is required to take you to the next level.
If you are just starting out in the workplace, you come with aspirations of greatness and dreams of glory. You have a general plan and are anxious to jump in with both feet and start learning. You are anxious to transform from the “new guy or girl” into a business-savvy contender, ready to take on whatever comes your way.
Well, come out swinging, as they say, and show everyone what you’ve got! It’s the old “it won’t go in if it can’t get there” analogy. If you don’t show us your strengths, we can’t see you. To get where you are at this point, you have impressed someone. That person has given you an opportunity. Perhaps your resume, your confidence, or your business sense opened the door for you, but now it’s up to you to keep that door open.
It’s not enough to be educated, or even knowledgeable, for that matter. You need to know the importance of developing relationships, whether they are with customers, colleagues, or superiors. You consistently need to show that you can use your strengths effectively. Focus on presenting yourself as being involved, prepared, capable, and willing. Practice at being the one that everyone knows will get the job done right.