In a recent conversation on Chasing Excellence with Ben Bergeron, he discusses weaknesses, and how to identify them. He then describes how to tackle your weaknesses, both inside and outside of the gym.
Identify Your Weaknesses
The first step is to identify your weaknesses. Because the word “weakness” has a negative connotation, it can be helpful to replace it with “the things you’re working on” or “focus work.”
To identify your weaknesses, you have to be willing to go through some self-discovery. In some areas of your life, like your fitness or sports performance, it might be easy to call out the things you need to work on. Once you get outside of the gym and into areas like family or relationships, the path to self-discovery may get more challenging.
Once you’ve identified the things you need to work on, you then have to be willing to dive in and do some work to get better. Part of this work is to get to the bottom of the weakness itself. Ben calls this “rooting the cause.” Once you root the cause, then you can fix it. And rather than relying on luck or good guesses, you’ll be much more efficient in how you improve.
Attacking Weaknesses Inside the Gym
For athletes, the closer you are to an elite level of performance, the more critical it becomes to work on your weaknesses. However, the work you put into improving your weaknesses should never be at the cost of your strengths and gifts.
For those whose fitness goals center more around functional fitness, then the focus becomes general physical preparedness (GPP). Within GPP, look for the weaknesses that are holding you back, as you’re only as fit as your weakest link. Rather than focusing on a specific movement or skill, consider the components of fitness. For example, rather than trying to get better at muscle-ups, think more broadly. Your weakness might be endurance or flexibility.
Attacking Weaknesses Outside the Gym
When it comes to attacking your weaknesses outside of the gym, the overall process is similar. It starts with a self-assessment. A helpful question to ask yourself is, “What area is going to have the greatest carry-over into your overall life?”
Again, analyzing yourself isn’t easy. You must take a close look at yourself and what you do (vs. what you say you do) to work on your weaknesses.
Similar to attacking weaknesses at the elite athletic level, be wary of winding up being mediocre at everything. Be cautious of becoming the generalist; remain “an elite” at the things that you do exceptionally well.
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