A few weeks ago I was in Houston for a consulting engagement. My flight back to North Carolina didn't arrive back until almost midnight. It had been a long day and I was very tired. As I walked to the parking garage, I was trying to remember where my car was and where I put my keys . . . and then I almost fell flat on my back.
I'd accidentally stepped onto a moving walkway, but it was moving in the wrong direction.
So what did I do? Did I move back and get on the correct walkway? Nope. I just kept going.
I'm not sure why. There was no one around. I wasn't trying to impress anyone. I just kept going. It took twice as long and it was much more difficult, but I kept going.
This experience got me thinking. . .
We have three options in life:
1. When we build on our natural strengths, it is like riding the walkway that's moving in the direction we are trying to go. This makes life a lot easier. We move forward without much effort. If we choose to walk or run, it further accelerates our progress. Any effort we exert is multiplied.
2. When we focus on areas of mediocrity, it is like walking next to the moving walkway. It doesn't move us forward or slow us down. There's no advantage or disadvantage. Our results are directly connected to the effort we exert.
3. When we try to fix our weaknesses, it is like riding the walkway that's moving in the wrong direction. This makes life very difficult. If we stand still, we lose ground and it takes a lot of energy just to keep from moving backward. We have to run in order to creep forward.
Which would you choose?
Before you decide, consider this. Imagine that you're on the walkway that is going backward and trying to keep up with someone who's right next to you on the walkway that is going forward.
How hard would you have to work in order to keep up? If you started to catch up, how easy would it be for them to pull ahead again?
We are all competing for attention, for jobs, for customers, for opportunities. Even if you work hard, you'll never beat your competitors by fixing your weaknesses. You'll win by capitalizing on your natural strengths, by multiplying your efforts in the areas in which you already have a head start.
When I stepped onto the wrong walkway, I just kept going. Don't make the same mistake.
If you want to get on the right walkway, check out this post with 20 Questions to Help You Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses.