Sweet Spot

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Here's how I typically advise younger ministers and leaders:

- Spend the first 10 years of ministry (say from ages 22-32) becomming as well-rounded as possible. Discover your stengths, identify and work on your weaknesses. Have your hands in lots of different 'pots' so you get a variety of experience and allow yourself plenty of opportunities for growth, especially in your areas of weakness.

- The rest of your career (say from 33-60) are best spent and most fruitful if you limit your focus to your sweet spots (your areas of strenght and passion). Don't worry so much about improving your weaknesss; focus on your strenghts.

The idea that a 45 year old should still be making great efforts to become more organized if he's not, or to become a better speaker if she isn't, doesn't make a ton of sense to me.


Tony Steward said...

But is there a difference between a strength (i.e. strategic, creative, visionary, problem solver) and professional skills (i.e. computer, personal admin/organization, writing) ?

John DeMarco said...

Your post made me think of the book "Now, Discover Your Strengths" by Marcus Buckingham.

The premise: No matter how much effort you put into it, you can't really improve a true weakness, whereas that same effort focused toward a strength brings great growth. It's part of how we are wired.

Kurt Johnston said...

Yes, I think there is an important distinction to me made and for sure. Along what lines we make the distinction may be tough, though I like how you broke them up.

John. I have read parts of 'Now, discover your strengths' I haven't read it completely or taken his assesment test.

Tony Steward said...

I have read "Now, Discover Your Strengths" and its church based version "Living Your Strengths", and I even just go the new updated release "Strengths Finder 2.0". (I am a junkie for this kind of stuff!)

I love teaching in these books that an individual finds a much higher gain in investing in the development of their strengths then trying to invest in their weaknesses.

At the same time they don't say to neglect your weaknesses, but to manage them. And there are ways of doing that from personal training (bleh!) to surrounding yourself with a team that is strong in your areas of weakness (yeah!).

Judy Gregory said...

Great advice Kurt. I love it! I think it takes ten years for us to be "ok" with your weaknesses, let alone admit them. If you can learn that lesson by the time you're 33, you'll be doing well.

P-Rob said...

But life gets interesting when you're someone like me...didn't get into full-time ministry until I was two months shy of 30. So, many of the strengths I developed in my 20s had limited or partial relevance to full-time ministry. In fact, spending nearly 10 years working swing shifts at newspapers created some BAD work habits in me that continue to need "healing."

Hmm, I wonder if there's a book idea in there somewhere...

Still, I think your idea is valid: Find what you do best in the beginning and discover how God really has shaped you, then spend the remaining years focused on the strengths.

Kurt said...

Yeah that seems to make sense. I am 26 and definitely still learning what I am good at and what I'm not so good at. I previously thought I was good at everything...but after a couple of years in I now think that thinking was somewhat flawed.

I really hope at 30 something I have found my "sweet spot."

phil said...

i vibed with that 100% kurt. i'm definely about to round the corner from one phase/chapter/time frame/stairwell...ok...i don't think stairwell really works....to the next.

and that's kinda' the way i'd been viewing the past few years...almost like a training period. Start to figure out what i really love, and am passionate about, and what i just may never (at least currently i guess) be passionate or good at.