To recognise and understand your weaknesses is the beginning of the road that leads to their reduction and eventual elimination. Turning a weakness into a strength is a satisfying accomplishment.
As an MD being prepared to learn from others and improve is a critical skill. I enjoyed this article by David Villa, a man who runs a similar business to Digital Fire and has similar challenges which he developed a modus operandi to overcome. So hats off to you David and I hope readers enjoy this as much as I did.
David Villa: “As a CEO, I’ve learned that when it comes to achieving a goal, you can always break its success or failure down to either distraction or direction.
Distraction is anything preventing us from giving our full attention to a task. When you’re working towards a goal or growing a company, a distraction will take you off course and make it impossible to keep your mind on your purpose or goal.
Direction, on the other hand, is a course or path along which something travels. The reason you set goals is because they define the direction you would like to move to attain that goal. In my career, I’ve found that as long as I avoid distractions and keep my mind focused on the direction that I’m heading, my goals always remain in sight.
Though I have these ideas well defined now, when I was younger, I found myself bouncing from one idea to the next, trying to get the desired results and failing. I felt like I was banging my head against a wall. My vision was clear, so why wasn’t I able to make it happen?
Once I realised distraction was the cause, I worked to eliminate it. I began relying on and refining the 70-25-5 principle, a concept found in several business-related books. As I worked it into my own life, the change was incredible. I’d clearly defined long-term and short-term goals, which I wrote down and regularly updated, and I spent a majority of my time utilising my strengths to build a foundation for success.
Distraction Is the Enemy
Even when you have a specific destination and know the way to get there, the path isn’t always easy to travel. You should expect obstacles along the way, though you continue making progress. But out of nowhere, confusion, difficulty, change and frustration can distract from your purpose. You can blame the difficulty on the obstacles, but the cause is actually distraction.
Distraction can happen to anyone, but only when you fail to set goals does it win. A goal must be written down; otherwise, it’s just a dream. Studies, including this Harvard publication, have shown that “individuals with clear, written goals are significantly more likely to succeed than those without clearly defined goals.” Whenever we begin a project, start a new year, month or week, we should clearly define our goals. These act as a beacon, guiding us towards their achievement.
Whenever you achieve success, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals and remain satisfied with what you’ve already attained. You may think that you’re standing still, but the truth is that if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. When you become set in your ways, it becomes easy to give in to the different distractions that seem to attack from all sides. The downward spiral usually occurs in the following stages:
- Distractions cause you to deviate from your purpose or call to lead.
- You misinterpret adversity, thinking that it is the enemy. In truth, distractions are the enemy.
- You become completely self-absorbed, losing sight of your call.
- The pursuit of pleasure becomes your main purpose, leading to a lack of fulfilment.
Emptiness and weariness set in as your original resolve decays. You have completely lost your direction at this point and distractions appear everywhere you look.
The 70-25-5 Principle
When you lose focus, it’s easy to blame obstacles for not attaining your goal. However, it’s complacency that is at fault. The best way to avoid becoming complacent is to challenge yourself with the 70-25-5 principle, which refers to how you spend your daily time and effort. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses; this principle challenges you to develop yourself to be the best person you can be. To do that, you need to devote the majority of your time to your strengths. The 70-25-5 principle works like this:
- Dedicate 70% of your time working in areas where you’re strongest.
- Give 25% of your time to working on things you want to improve.
- Spend 5% of your time working on areas of weakness.
When dedicating 70% of your time working in areas of strength, you’re likely to make progress towards your daily goals. Focusing 25% of your time working on areas that need improvement will ensure you do not remain stagnant. Finally, if you spend 5% of your time working on weaknesses, you will become very well-rounded, giving you more clarity with any challenges you may face.
Running a marketing agency that’s growing rapidly means I’m working with many moving parts, including scaling products, managing departments, and implementing new ideas. Having real direction in the form of a defined process is what eliminates distraction and helps me rapidly achieve goals.