Updated: Jul 2, 2020
It’s common for people who are interested in self-development or growth to immediately start searching for the skill gaps that might be holding them back from their goal. “What am I the worst at? Where do I fall down a lot? What skills/knowledge am I missing?”.
It might sound like this: “I want to book speaking events but I don’t know how to speak to large groups. I need to learn some more skills around public speaking.”
We habitually identify weaknesses and skills gaps to show us the path to growth. This type of focus can become a convenient delaying tactic, always chasing that next webinar or program before you commit to the goal. There is another way to approach self-development that might open up your mind to more immediate opportunity.
Start with your strengths! “Where am I the most comfortable? What am I good at? What comes naturally to me?” There is a lot of power in starting with where you are most comfortable to show you a clear path to growth.
Comfort can often indicate some level of mastery, even if it’s at the most basic level. In our example from earlier, you might realize: “I’m very comfortable talking to small groups of 2-3 people at a time”. This indicates you have mastered specific skill-sets required to engage conversation with groups.
Bring your focus onto the strengths/skills needed to master speaking to small groups by listing them out.
· Eye-contact among multiple people
· Holding the focus of multiple people at once
· Understanding group dynamics, etc
· Knowing my material
Next, look at how these skills apply to the next level – speaking with 10 people in a group. What has changed about the skills required to do this? Are there additional skills needed if more people are added to the group? Often, we find that there are no new core skills needed or minimal improvements, at best.
If you can’t identify any major differences in skills required, examine the differences you have in your THOUGHTS about these two scenarios. I guarantee you, 9 times out of 10, there is not a significant skill gap; there is a thought gap!
“I believe 3 people will actively listen and take me seriously, but 10 people won’t. Hmm, why do I believe that?”.
After examining this thought, this person might come to the conclusion: “I know how to speak to groups of people. I’m making the size of the group impact my self-confidence and that thought is not serving me.”
There is your growth! Tackle the limiting belief holding you back from experiencing the confidence you need to address larger groups and allow the skills mastery you already have to take over from there.
I took on this exact challenge when I started writing this blog. Check out my first blog post, “I Am a Writer”, for an example of how I challenged my own thoughts about being able to write instead of speak.
Can you identify an area of growth where you now believe there may be THOUGHTS and not SKILLS that are holding you back? Share those thoughts and how you can challenge them in the comments below.