Make a Weakness a Strength

To improve, you must make your weaknesses your strengths.

                                                      Pat Summit, Tennessee Women’s Basketball Coach

I do not think she means that I have to grind away at something that I am really bad at or hate doing – that seems to be an exercise in frustration – not to mention a really awful way to spend your time. I think she might mean that you have to find a way to use your weakness to your advantage.

Here’s an example.

Tracking your activities toward a goal is a really great way to stay focused, to stay accountable, and to document your progress. Problem is, I am really bad at tracking. I am great at setting up the spreadsheet, laying out the action items, creating the plan; but I am not so great at actually keeping up with where the spreadsheet is, remembering to mark off the stuff I did, or tallying up my results at the end of the week. I’m horrible. So if I am horrible at getting it all written down, maybe I don’t track taking a certain action but rather not taking a certain action.

If I have to track every dollar I spend on a frivolous item, for example, then I am greatly incented to not spend money on a frivolous item! If I spend money on a frivolous item, I have to find my tracking sheet; I have to find a pencil; I have to record it. As I am debating about that frivolous item, all of that “after the buy” stuff is really weighing me down. It is dis-incenting me to buy the darn thing. And that’s what I want! I want another reason not to buy it.

So, if tracking is a weakness, then track the thing you don’t want to happen. I want to work out every day so I will track every day that I don’t work out. I want to avoid eating sweets so I will track every time I eat a sweet. I want to stop spending money on frivolous stuff so I will track all my frivolous buys. That way, a blank sheet of paper at the end of the week is a good thing! I never have to hunt down a pencil or find my tracking sheet if I stay away from the stuff I am trying to stay away from.

I am also not great at consistency (no end in sight – every day, every week – forever!?) But, I am great at projects (beginning, middle, and end! Check mark, it’s done!) So, I have to find a way to turn an on-going, day-to-day, week-to-week activity into a project. Let’s take my blog, which, by the way, I love writing. I am just not great at scheduling a time every week to write it. Every week! Week after week! Forever?! That sounds hard. Having a blog project, though, is cool and interesting. Ummmm, I can do a theme, lay out the posts, write them all at once, schedule it and be done! That has a beginning and an end. I can check off completion of that project. I am good at projects!

If you are good at consistency and bad at projects, find a way to turn your project into another daily activity. We might not be able to turn a weakness into a strength, but we can find a way to use our weaknesses to our advantage. What is your money weakness and how can you use it to your advantage? Answer that and you will be well on your way to financial success.

To your financial success!