Leverage Your Gifts, Sidestep Your Weaknesses

bullseye_smYou arrive on this planet with innate gifts and challenges. Your aptitudes come as part of the package of “you.” If you’re like most people, you’ve spent a fair amount of time focusing and working on your weaknesses and taken some of your strengths for granted.

Leveraging your natural aptitudes, assuming you also enjoy those areas, can yield substantiative benefits and greater satisfaction more readily than spending endless hours attempting to improve trouble spots. Stretching yourself feels good but it can feel phenomenal when it aligns with your gifts and preferences.

Aptitudes differ from skills. You carry aptitudes as immutable characteristics whereas you develop skills. For example, while I have some musical aptitude, I no longer have the skills I once did when I practiced playing my cello. Undeveloped aptitudes represent unrealized potential.

You can learn skills which don’t come naturally to you through a combination of the right learning approach for you and persistence. I once tutored someone getting an F in Calculus who ended up with an A and a good working understanding of the material by keying into the way he learned. Sometimes a specific goal forces you to endure unpleasant lessons or even entire courses (can you say quantum mechanics?), particularly if you require a specific degree for the career you envision. However, without a larger context driving such effort, some pursuits may not be worth the investment since you could receive a bigger payout with less effort in an area with greater personal resonance and aptitude.

If you can afford it, I recommend you hire professionals to perform tasks in areas of low aptitude or enjoyment. In my case, employing a tax accountant, a financial advisor, and a housecleaner frees me to focus on what calls me at a soul level. If you can’t afford to hire someone, see if you can get free help such as tax advice at your local library or by trading some skill or gift you have with others with differing aptitudes and skills.

Do you tend to focus on what comes naturally to you or on what doesn’t? Where do you get the greatest payoff?



  1. Hi Christy, Like you, I prefer to hire professionals to help out with my “low aptitude” skills. I love writing but struggle with the editing process and have no qualms about hiring an editor. I’ve also hired graphic artists to help with headers and trailers. No need to be a Jackie of all trades. Joanne 🙂


  2. Hi Christy:

    My timing of seeing this has once again resonated with my immediate efforts. I am literally about 10 days away from beginning the tedious and nerve racking process of revising my thesis in preparation for final defense. As much as I would love to hire someone to finish this for me (trying to laugh instead of crying), I know in the end I will hopefully receive great satisfaction in knowing that I completed an M.S. that I had no idea I would pursue just three years ago.

    As you personally know, grad school forces one to tread into both the familiar/comfort and unfamiliar/who signed me up for this stuff zones. The greatest payoff will be knowing that I went back to school and completed something that when I mention it to others my age, for the vast majority say they would be afraid or don’t think they could even begin to think about doing what I am doing.

    In the meantime, as it is said that age and treachery overcome youth and skill, I am all about hiring those who do have the talents in my “low aptitude” areas. A certain amount of age brings with it the realization that I don’t have to know how to do everything and the satisfaction that I am happy to find others that love to fill those gaps. This is especially true in regards to accounting and taxes!


    • Hi Bea,
      How wonderful to hear from you! I admire your guts and perseverance in getting your M.S. after all these years. You’re so close to finishing, just take it one breath and one paragraph at a time until it’s done. Ten days from now this shall be yet another accomplishment on your lengthy list!

      I do love gifting people with my unwanted work, haha. I’m so glad they love what I loathe.

      Best of luck to you,


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