One of my core beliefs is that we lack confidence because we don’t truly, deeply understand what we bring to the table. Based on that I work with people to understand their areas of strength, then link those strengths to their effectiveness at work. And for the most part, it works. What Ben Bergeron says in “Chasing Excellence,” is that he makes his elite CrossFit athletes really focus on their areas of weakness. That doesn’t mean they’re off the hook on the easy stuff — they also spend A LOT of time practicing their areas of strength. But they don’t stop there.Similarly, in the public speaking team, I worked with we began the semester by filming students so they could see themselves speak, then asking them to select two non-verbal or vocal elements to improve. With the focus on just two things they made much more progress, and the confidence that built made lots of other issues go away.
To be clear, I still believe it’s key to begin with your strengths. It’s human nature to focus on our mistakes and weaknesses, and if you dive right into those you’ll just beat yourself up. That actually slows progress. Ben Bergeron’s athletes know what they do really well. And our public speaking students got lots of recognition for what comes easily to them. But if you feel grounded in your strengths and positive impact, and feel ready to turn up the volume, this is a great way to increase your bench strength as you create change.