Fight Your Challenges With Your Strengths

Our ability to handle life’s challenges is a measure of our strength of character.”

Les Brown

Let’s talk about your strengths that help you reach your business goals, and challenges that might prevent you from becoming successful.

When participants explore their strengths
 and confront their challenges in my marketing workshops, they feel better equipped to make their business goals a reality.

A strength is a trait, characteristic, or skill that comes effortlessly to you. If something comes naturally to you, it’s a strength that you most likely enjoy using. You can’t be great at doing something unless it’s a strength. Even when others recognize your strengths, you might minimize them because strengths can be taken for granted.

A challenge is an activity that takes you out of your emotional and intellectual comfort zone and could cause anxiety. When you face a challenge, you’ll need to harness many of your internal strengths to achieve success. My psychotherapist friends like to say that dealing with a challenge can be an area of personal growth.

You often hear people refer to one’s strengths and weaknesses. I equate weakness with helplessness. I see weakness as a fault emanating from the world of negativity. Not good. Living in a world of negativity is a bummer. Negativity begets more negativity.

There are two different approaches to working with your strengths and challenges. First, you identify your strengths and use them to their fullest advantage. Second, you recognize your challenges and work to overcome them. Your strengths are not necessarily related to your challenges, but they can be.

Ben’s Story

Here’s an example of how one of my marketing workshop participants worked on his strengths and challenges. Ben is a 28-year-old graphic designer. He currently works for an advertising agency and wants to leave the agency to start his own graphic design studio. I asked him to tell me one key strength he would bring to building his own business. He immediately replied, “I’m creative!”

Next, I asked Ben to describe the most difficult challenge he faces in building his business. He hesitated for a few seconds, and then said; “I’m always second guessing myself about my ability to be creative. I question whether I’m able to sell and whether I’m good enough to compete in the market.” For the first time, Ben was able to articulate his challenge.

Next, I asked Ben to carefully look at this difficult challenge. Then I probed deeper and asked him if there is some other way in which he might be second guessing himself. Ben looked down for a few seconds. He seemed to be somewhere else. “I don’t know.”

Another question. “Ben, think hard now. What, if any internal messages do you have about yourself that would make it difficult for you to overcome your challenge?”

Now Ben was deep in thought. “I’m not smart enough to be doing this,” Ben revealed. “My parents always compared me to my older brother who I thought was smarter. But it extends farther than that.

“Ben,” I asked, “is there something positive you would like to tell yourself in place of your negative message?” Ben replied, “I’m a competent, creative professional”. I gave Ben a pen and an index card and asked him to:

  1. Write this positive message on the card
  2. Display the card in a prominent place where it can be seen every day

Now that Ben had a clear picture of his new positive message, we went on to the next part of the exercise. I asked him if he had at least one concrete idea to address his challenge of second guessing himself. Ben, feeling more confident, said he would make a list of his recent accomplishments.

Finally, I asked the other workshop participants if they had any ideas to help Ben.

Someone suggested that Ben call one of his colleagues and friends to remind him that he’s a competent professional. Another suggested that Ben reread his list of accomplishments when he would start to second-guess himself. My suggestion was a straightforward message for Ben to say to himself: “I have an amazingly successful track record.”

Ben was candid about his struggle with second guessing himself. He took a good, hard look at himself. After the workshop, Ben told me he felt like a burden had been lifted off his back. Good work, Ben.

Now it’s your turn. Answer the following:

  1. What are three strengths you bring to building your business?
  2. What are three challenges you face in building your business?
  3. Looking at the most difficult challenge you identified, is there something more you know about this challenge? If so, what is it?
  4. What, if any internal messages do you have about yourself that would make it difficult for you to overcome your main challenge?
  5. Is there a positive message you have about yourself that can replace your negative message?
  6. Name several ideas you have to deal with your main challenge

If confronting and doing something about your challenges seems daunting, take a step back and focus on your strengths.

There’s lots more tips and tactics to build your business in Critical Connections-The Step-by-Step Guide to Transform Your Business Through Referral Marketing

What’s Your Vision for Your Business?

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.—Joel A. Barker

Have you ever met an entrepreneur who has a great idea for a business and wants desperately to tell you about it? Did you feel the entrepreneur’s sense of excitement and passion? Did the entrepreneur paint a colorful picture of his or her idea? Did you get swept up in the moment? Did you find yourself telling others about what this entrepreneur said? Do you wish you would feel this way?

Creating Your Vision

The dictionary defines a vision as the “act or power of anticipating what will or may come to be”. Your goal is not to predict the future, but to set your eyes on the prize. You can create and recreate your vision at any time, from the embryonic stage to being up and running.

Let’s see what Deepak Chopra has to say in his book The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles:

Consciousness orchestrates its activity in response to both attention and intention. Whatever you put your attention on becomes energized. Whatever you take your attention away from dwindles. On the other hand, intention is the key to transformation, as we have seen. So, you could say that attention activates the energy field, and intention activates the information field, which causes transformation.

Deepak believes energy follows attention. In other words, what you focus on can become your reality. If you put your vision out there into the universe (it might be a bit extreme, but it does make a point), you’ll have a good chance of making your vision happen. If you set your intention to work toward your vision, your chances of success increase.



Your vision:

  • Is intangible
  • Is intentional
  • Serves as a motivational force
  • Expresses your passion
  • Is a guide for planning your business objectives.

Let’s go deeper. Your vision, when written, serves as a constant reminder of where you’re going. It should be action-oriented and worded in such a way, so there is room for change. You should keep your potential customer or client in the front of your mind when creating a vision. After all, isn’t your business about providing a product or service that will satisfy a customer or client need?

The elegant aspect of a vision is that while you are crafting it, you are painting a mental picture based on your emotions (passion) and your intellect (your business idea). 
The result is a written statement about your dream for your business.

Can you keep your ambitious goal in mind and at the same time focus on concrete, tangible outcomes? I believe this is the key to success. You set a path and follow it. The path might be bumpy, with dangerous curves, hills, and dead-ends, but in the end, you’ll get what you want – a successful business based on your values and your unique skills and abilities. It’s easy to get sidetracked and lose sight of your vision. There are many tempting distractions out there.

Your vision is not about the path, it’s about where the path takes you. It’s all about finding your passion and pursuing it. In times of doubt, you can revisit your goal, and hopefully feel encouraged.

Answer the following questions and you’ll be on your way to create your vision.

  1. What is my highest dream or vision for my business?
  2. What do I wish for the most?
  3. What can I put into words that I have never put into words before?
  4. What am I willing to do to make my vision come true?
  5. What resources do I need to use on the way to achieving my vision?

Good luck and stay focused.

There’s lots more tips and tactics to build your business in Critical Connections-The Step-by-Step Guide to Transform Your Business Through Referral Marketing