Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can cover the topic of building strengths and ignoring weaknesses at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.


Full Video Transcript:

Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about focusing on what you’re good at rather than focusing on what you’re not good at. Because here’s the thing: We all have the same limitation in life. We have 24 hours in a day and you can’t do everything you want. You have to pick what you’re going to do. And you can either spend that time compensating for weaknesses, in other words taking things in your life that you’re not very good at and trying to get better at those things, or you can take your time and you can focus on things that you’re really good at, things that you love to do, things that you have a natural inclination to do. And if you do that, you’re going to get much further ahead. My argument is to spend your time doing things you’re good at because if you want to get great, if you want to become world class or really do well in some area of life, you got to focus on that thing that you’re naturally good at.

So there’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that kicks in when you have a natural inclination to do one thing or another. For example, in my own life, I started going to the gym to work out when I was like 15, 16 years old. And I had a friend of mine, his name was Matt, and his legs were just powerful, so Matt always did legs. Well, what happened? Well, his legs got even stronger because that’s what he was working out. He was working out his legs because he enjoyed it because they were big to begin with. He was strong in his legs.

For myself, it was always my chest. My chest was my strongest muscle group. And so what did I want to do when I was in the gym? I wanted to do chest. And what happened as a result is the disproportion became even bigger, which if you’re trying to develop your body or bodybuilding, I mean I was never a bodybuilder, but if you’re in that realm you don’t want disproportionate. You want everything to be proportionate, so you have to kind of balance things out.

But in life, you’ve got a skill. You have a natural talent. You have a gift. You need to spend your time developing that gift and becoming great at it. You might be good at it already, but how can you become great? How can you become world class? Being the best at something, that’s where the true rewards come.

And I remember a few years ago, it was actually 2006, so that’s like seven years ago now, eight years ago in fact, I was on a plane. I was coming back from Toronto, and I had my computer on my lap and I created a file—it was actually an Excel file—and I wrote down all the things that I’m good at, and then I wrote down activities that would take advantage of those things. And by the way, one of them was speaking. I mean, I enjoyed speaking. It was something that I wanted to do when I was very young, not just 2006 but when I was like 12 years old I wanted to do that.

So one of the things I wrote in my Excel file is I wrote public speaking. What are things I could do that would employ that skill? Well, I joined Toastmasters, I started a meetup group and I started doing more and more things to try and get in front of people because this is something that I wanted to do, it’s something that I liked and it’s something that I thought was a strength. But what I found after I wrote all these, because that wasn’t the only thing, there were lots of other things, and when I had this whole list in front of me, I was sitting there on the plane looking at this Excel file, and I was like, “Man, I don’t have enough time in the day. I could literally build my entire life only doing things that I’m good at.”

And that’s what I encourage you to do as well, is to sit down with a pen and paper or on a computer, it doesn’t matter which, and write down all the things you’re good at, and then beside that write down all the activities that you could do which would take advantage of these skills that you have and then just build your entire life around things you’re good at. And what you’re going to find is that your development in those areas is going to accelerate and you’re going to become world class. It takes time. None of this stuff happens overnight. I’m not world class, I’m on the path, but I’m getting better and I’m learning because I’ve built my life around those skills. So we only have 24 hours in a day. How are we going to use that time best?

By the way, the same is true in business. Take the things in your business that are doing the best, the areas where you truly have a competitive advantage, and focus on those things. You don’t have to compete in the other areas where you’re naturally not as good. Take the things where you’re very good and become great at those things. You go off further that way.

People consistently underestimate—let me get this straight—they overestimate what they can do in a year but they underestimate what they can do in a decade. So people, they think like, “Gosh, one year from today I can change my whole life.” That’s actually not true. Things do go slowly at first, but there’s an exponential effect that kicks in. So over the course of a decade, you can make extraordinary changes by focusing on that one thing that you’re good at and making incremental gains. There’s an exponential effect that takes place. Think about what you’re good at and focus on those things.

My name is Patrick. Thank you very much for watching this video. Reminding you again as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.