Play to Your Strengths and Supercharge Your Business
When you play to your strengths, you find work that gives you energy and keeps you up late because you’re just having too much fun to stop.

It’s often much easier to focus on what’s not working, rather than play to your strengths.

Have you ever stayed awake until 2 in the morning having an imaginary conversation with a blog reader who loves your writing?

Or spent hours obsessively trying to figure out how to do better work, spurred by a fan letter from a client about the terrific job you did?

It’s more likely that your late-night solo conversations and obsessive problem-solving go to the trolls, the complainers, and the folks who just plain can’t stand you.

Don’t worry. If you give an undue amount of attention to negative comments and feedback, to the extent of almost ignoring the good stuff altogether, it doesn’t mean you’re neurotic. It means you’re exactly like the rest of us.

Chip Heath and Dan Heath in their marvelous book Switch make this observation:

“Imagine a world in which you experienced a rush of gratitude every single time you flipped a light switch and the room lit up. Imagine a world in which after a husband forgot his wife’s birthday, she gave him a big kiss and said, ‘For thirteen of the last fourteen years you remembered my birthday! That’s wonderful!’

“This is not our world.

“But in times of change, it needs to be.”

The advice to focus on our strengths, not our weaknesses, in order to create breakthrough success is quite fascinating.

It’s so appealing, right? You mean I don’t have to learn to cold call or know how SEO for content writers works? Sign me up.

But it seems like another idea might contradict it. One that’s gained a lot of attention in recent years, especially when it comes to content marketing mastery: There’s not really any such thing as talent.

Researchers like Carol Dweck and nonfiction writers like Malcolm Gladwell tell us that what we call “talent” is really the result of a heck of a lot of hard work.

It took me a while to realize this is a trick question. I thought that your strengths are things you’re good at and your weaknesses are things you sucked at.

But Marcus Buckingham, who’s made a career out of writing about strengths, put it this way:

“A strength is ‘an activity that makes you feel strong.’ It is an activity where the doing of it invigorates you. Before you do it, you find yourself instinctively looking forward to it. While you are doing it you don’t struggle to concentrate, but instead you become so immersed that time speeds up and you lose yourself in the present moment. And after you are finished doing it, you feel authentic, connected to the best parts of who you really are.”

When you play to your strengths, you uncover the activities that give you momentum. It’s the work you love enough to become the best in the world at.

Digital Commerce Partners is the agency division of Copyblogger, and we specialize in delivering targeted organic traffic for growing digital businesses.

Have you ever heard how Yo-Yo Ma got his start as a cellist? As it happens, Yo-Yo’s parents are both musicians and had high musical expectations for their little son. So when Yo-Yo was three, they gave the boy a violin.

And Yo-Yo hated it. Wouldn’t practice. Wouldn’t focus. Didn’t have any zest for it. His frustrated parents finally gave up in disgust.

And then little Yo-Yo saw and heard something amazing, something that surprised and delighted him. Something that he knew was exactly what he wanted to play. It was a double bass — the violin’s really, really big brother. Now that was more like it.

He and his parents decided to split the size difference. Ma first began to study the viola and then settled (at four years old) on the cello. By seven he was a recognized prodigy, performing for Eisenhower and JFK, and by eight he played on national television, conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

To have become so skilled between the ages of four and seven, he must have put in untold hours of practice. But they were hours spent on something he adored, because he learned to play to his strengths.

One thing that interests me about Ma is that he isn’t just a brilliant cellist. He isn’t just world-famous and a name brand.

Ma also seems to be a remarkably happy and kind human being. He loves working with children. He radiates kindness and a certain goofy charm. He’s got a great sense of humor, referring to himself at times as an “itinerant musician.” And he’s known for boundless energy.

If I’m going to be a nationally famous virtuoso, that’s the kind I want to be.

When you see someone writing tons of great content and podcasting and doing everything else we’re supposed to do to build rosters of terrific freelance writing clients, it’s easy to ask:

How does anyone find the time to do all that?

The truth is, it’s not a time management problem — it’s an energy management one.

When you focus on your strengths, you do the work that gives you energy. You do the work that drives you, that makes you giggle, that keeps you up late because you’re just having too much fun to stop.

When you’re starting out, you do everything. You build the blog and write all the content and do the bookkeeping and answer the support emails. Some of those things build you up and some wear you down.

As soon as you can (it could be today), find partners who excel at the tasks that exhaust and deplete you. If you can’t find the right partner, outsource the aspects of your business that make you want to crawl back into bed.

And put your time and attention on what the Heath brothers call the “bright spots” — on what’s really working today. That’s how you play to your strengths. You focus on the work that gives you juice.

Do more of what’s working well, and what energizes and strengthens you. Double-down on what your readers and customers adore. Work on what you can do better than anyone on earth.

I know it sounds too simple to be real. But it’s how every genuinely great business — of any size — is built.

Mark Mason says

September 21, 2010 at 9:24 am

There is “magic” that happens when we do what makes us happy. Passion is the ultimate “strength’. If you are passionate about what you do, you can TOTALLY smoke the competition.

Great post.


Josh Garcia says

September 21, 2010 at 9:28 am

Hey Sonia,

I love how you explained what focusing on your strength means. That is why successful business owners are always saying when you focus on your strength, the weakness will not show. Now, this makes so much sense.

Chat with you later…
Josh says

September 23, 2010 at 3:39 am

I agree! I sometimes hate being asked that question. “What are your strengths?” Now I see how I can answer that and use those to my busienss advantage. Great post.

Susanne Myers says

September 21, 2010 at 9:31 am

Love the idea of energy management vs. time management. It’s so true and when you’re doing something you enjoy, time just seems to fly by.

Josh Chandler says

September 24, 2010 at 6:21 am


Yes, I know, isn’t that a great feeling to know that you don’t have to “punch in” at a certain time. I find that when time is flying by, I never want it to stop. 🙂

Leanne says

April 16, 2013 at 9:20 am

I struggle with time management a lot – but making the distinction between time management and energy management is a great one for me. When it comes to tasks I don’t enjoy it takes a lot more of my energy to overcome inertia and get to it. Where the tasks I do enjoy I leap into and seem to have plenty of time for.
This is an ah-ha! for me. Thanks!

Marlee says

September 21, 2010 at 9:31 am

Have you been reading my mail? I have finally harness the concept that you describe here and it’s turned me into a workaholic of the best kind.

I’m completely energized by what I am trying to accomplish through my business. It’s taken me a while to get here though because it’s taken me awhile to figure out my strengths – that which strengthens me – not that which I’m good at.

I was a good lawyer, I’ve strengths suited for lawyering, but it was killing me. It wasn’t until I started feeding those things that I was both good at, and inspired/energized by that I was able to tap into my true strengths.

I’d like to encourage people to really embrace the approach presented here, and to really assess those things that make you “tick.” You may have to keep testing and trying things, but if you’re persistent, you’ll be all the better for it!

Sonia Simone says

September 21, 2010 at 9:34 am

That’s so cool, Marlee!

It does (often) take time. Most of us don’t figure it out at four like Yo-Yo did. Like you say, you’ve got to keep testing and trying.

Christina Crowe ( @CashCampfire ) says

September 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Wow, Marlee! I checked out your blog after reading your comment, and it looks really good! I love your writing style, and I can definitely tell that you’re passionate about what you do.

I’m glad you’ve discovered what your strengths and weaknesses are. I’m still analyzing mine, but I have a few strengths that come to mind. I’m hoping that, eventually, I can also become a workaholic that loves what she does!

Your comment is really motivating.


Marlee says

September 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Thank you Christina!

It’s responses like yours that affirm that I’m doing the right thing, and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to make mention.

I’m in the process of solidifying “a process” to help awesome women just like yourself get over that hump…or simply get started, and I would love to help you with where you’re at if you could use an objective analysis.

Sometimes it’s just one or two things that we need to identify to get into our strength zone – to figure out what makes us tick – but sometimes we are too close to ourselves to see it ourselves.

You know what I mean? 🙂

Christina Crowe ( @CashCampfire ) says

September 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Definitely. It’s like that with writing critiques as well. When you write, you have a good idea about how the sentences should flow. So, when you re-read what you write, sometimes you might miss minor errors in the piece. Whereas, if someone else critiques your work, that person is more likely to find the errors that you missed.

I’d love to network with you Marlee. I sent you an email.

Hashim Warren says

September 21, 2010 at 9:41 am

Even the stuff I like can become draining and frustrating as I try to get better at it. For instance, I love writing but I hate the slog of editing over and over to make it sing.

I wonder, how do I tell the difference between the stuff that I need to push through and become better at, and the stuff I’m weak at and need to hand off.

Or, am I missing the point?

Sonia Simone says

September 21, 2010 at 10:08 am

For me, writing is one that gives me energy up to a point, but I certainly can’t do it all day. I’d see if you can work in bursts and see if the editing smooths out for you. But if a half-hour editing session still makes you tired and grumpy, then I’d say that writing is a strength and rewriting is a weakness.

Do you let your writing sit a day before the rewrite? Sometimes that lets your unconscious do the hard part and makes it an easier go.

Shane Arthur says

September 21, 2010 at 9:56 am

Sonia, I think your passion is writing passionate blog posts. Nobody else quite captures “the feeling” your posts transmit.

I knew since 5th grade the written word was my passion. I ignored it, though, for roughly 20 years, with basketball, football, boxing and partying (among other things) being more important. But the whisper never leaves, so I decided to write, proof, and edit to please it.

Now, it’s happy, and so am I.

Sonia Simone says

September 21, 2010 at 10:09 am

I actually think you’re right — when I’m writing on all cylinders, I feel very energized, and the writing that most often does that (for me) is writing about doing your best work & living your best life.

Nathan Hangen says

September 21, 2010 at 10:02 am

This really is a great way of looking at it. You might be good at something, but if it saps your energy, it’s a lost cause.

I much prefer to do things that I enjoy, whether or not I’m great at it because I believe that in time, I can become great.

Dave says

September 21, 2010 at 10:05 am

This philosophy is embraced and expanded on in the book “Fast Track Photographer” by Dane Sanders. Do what you love most, and farm out every other thing you can…

Sonia Simone says

September 21, 2010 at 10:11 am

This concept is being covered in lots of great books right now. If you haven’t picked up Switch yet, do get it, it’s incredibly inspiring.

Kat says

September 21, 2010 at 10:11 am

Kind of like do what you love and love what you do. Great post and great reminder!

Beth Campbell Duke says

September 21, 2010 at 10:14 am

Thanks for the post! This will certainly help me to help others find their strengths. I often ask clients to tell me what they loved doing as a kid – before all of the “good advice” of parents, teachers and career advisors took over.

October is “Small Business Month” – in our community at least – and this post is an excellent foundation for people thinking about starting or streamlining their businesses.

Thanks again.

Josh Chandler says

September 24, 2010 at 6:22 am


Yes, we all need to remember what makes us who we are.

Jef Menguin says

September 21, 2010 at 10:19 am

I teach the same principle in my stress management seminars. And yes, I agree that this principle can also be applied in writing.

Thank you for sharing your strengths with us.

Shane says

September 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

Sonia –

I love opening up my browser and reading your posts! What a great way to start the day.

I think that a lot of people inherently know their strengths, but they feel a lack of confidence in building it up – using it to their advantage. The thing to remember is that your strengths are your own and if millions of people can succeed each day (and they do) then you can be one of them.

My favorite quote from a trusted leader: You are what you think you are. Take your strengths, think about what you want to be. And that’s what you become 🙂

Josh Chandler says

September 24, 2010 at 6:23 am


That is a great quote, thank you so much for sharing that with us. 🙂

Vik Tantry says

September 21, 2010 at 10:32 am

Trying to find our strengths is often confusing. Many people make the mistake of thinking that just because they can do something well, it is a strength. It usually takes longer to figure out that if what you do well is something that you hate to do, it weakens you. This can be very confusing because most people look at it in another way. They will be happy to explain to you that if you do something well; you should make a career out of it. Could this be why so many successful people hate their jobs?
I recently wrote a post about time=money. When we are spending time doing something that we hate, but doing it well, it takes more of our time. We find reasons not to do it because we hate it. We could use our time more wisely by doing the things that make us feel strong. We will accomplish more and feel better about ourselves.

Wulfie says

September 21, 2010 at 10:36 am

So true! I hadn’t looked at strengths that way before.

When I first came online with the idea to start a business six months ago I was bustin my nugget trying to MAKE my idea go. But the harder I worked the crazier and more depressed I got. You name it, it went wrong. And I spent an inordinate amount of time taking every teleclass I could to find out how to MAKE it work. But the truth came when someone asked someone else if she wanted to have a business. She answered yes but I answered no and that shook me.

But from then on, finally realizing what I didn’t want, I discovered what I did want and what I LOVE doing. I could stay up all night, and have, doing it. It energizes me. I’m digging it, but feel like a boat jumper because now a lot of my on-line friends are into what I was trying to do before but don’t have any interest in what I’m doing now. It’s weird starting over and getting over the feeling of having just done an EPIC FAIL. I’m doing it anyways…but I still sometimes feel like a shmuck.

So yeah, doing what we love feeds us. Rock on!

wendy meuret says

September 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I have had similar situations-found 2 direct sales biz that I thought were great and got a few people involved with me and it just fizzled. I didn’t have the passion I thought I did. I was riding the coat tails and drinking the hopium that was touted on stage at events.
It is embarrassing to face my friends-we didn’t lose any great amount of money but I do feel that I have dented my reputation a bit.
But I am taking the high road and being honest with myself and my friends. Hey, I’m human. I’m doing my homework better this time and focusing on ME and what MY desires are.
I still have relatives that tell me, “When are you gong to get a ‘real’ job?” They don’t get it and they don’t get me. I decided that I will listen to and model successful people, not the ones that tell me how to do it, since it’s not really working for them. Why would I listen to them if they themselves are not successful?
Anyway, thanks for sharing…

Carol says

September 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm


I don’t see what you went through as an EPIC FAIL; I see it as EPIC GROWTH, as a lesson learned! If we don’t try new things then we won’t know if that thing could be one of our new strength(s). Sometimes we just need to go through things, in order to grow and really see where we should be and what we should be doing.

It took alot of courage for you to walk away and say I don’t want to do this. Kudos to you, because some things just don’t work for us or they don’t “fit”, no matter how hard we try.

I’m going through something similar now. I have been trying to force myself into a bad “fit” even when it was making me crazy, I have finally stopped the insanity, but I needed to go through it and learn that. So, I am now going back to one of my strengths. I write. That’s what I do – I am a writer.

Good luck to you, and I hope that your passion takes you to where you are meant to be.

Marcy Gerena says

September 21, 2010 at 10:46 am

“The truth is, it’s not a time management problem — it’s an energy management one.”

I agree.

Engergy increases like wind that will put you in the zone and then creativity flows.

Tito Philips, Jnr. says

September 21, 2010 at 10:53 am

Peter Drucker sums it all up when he said; “I never met anyone who ever got anything great done outside their areas of strength”

Joseph says

September 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

I really like this post. A lot of people talk about how important it is to work on your weaknesses. Of course, there is some truth to this. But it’s a lot more important to do things that you are interested in and that energize you. If languages or math bore you to death, don’t become a linguist or a mathematician. Specifically, find what energizes you. This is the best point from this post. You can spend the rest of your life doing work that kills you 8 hours a day until you can leave it and go home. Or you can do work that energizes you and keeps you motivated. The second option is more appealing to me. I’ve noticed that entrepreneurs put a lot more time into their business, but they aren’t as worn down as people who work a 9 to 5 for someone else. Working for yourself energizes you. You have something to work for. What you are doing benefits yourself. Eventually you figure out what your biggest strengths are and let other people take care of the things you aren’t so good at. That’s the best way to work. Find something you love and pour yourself into it. Not waste your time thinking that your biggest strength is your biggest weakness. It’s not.

Sonia, thanks again for a great post!

Michael K. Reynolds says

September 21, 2010 at 11:12 am

Encouragement is the most powerful tool in a leader’s kit. It’s what fuels commitment, innovation and teamwork.

Yolanda Facio says

September 21, 2010 at 11:20 am

Haven’t looked at it in that way before. Time mgmt vs. Energy mgmt. I guess that is why I do get so much done. I just like doing. I’ve been accused of being an over-achiever, but I don’t look at myself that way. It isn’t a race to achieve or anything like that. When I’m enjoying what I’m doing I’m “energized” by it and I really enjoy it. Even when it’s stuff I may not want to do…sometimes even those things can be enjoyable!

Switch is a great book and so are the Buckingham books.

Mary E. Ulrich says

September 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

What an enjoyable post. I think you touched on all the things I have been thinking (and yes worrying) about. I never heard Yo-Yo’s story. What if his parents had insisted he stay with the violin? Geez.

Today I found a blogging buddy and started on a 30 day challenge to blog everyday and build a stronger community on my blog. Guess that will show me how much of a passion I really have.

You are right, it is not about just wishing, it is all about the doing.

Josh Chandler says

September 24, 2010 at 6:24 am


I love the idea of using a blogging buddy, someone you can be held accountable to if you don’t post a new blog post.

wendy meuret says

September 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Energy management-what a great phrase. Society perceives being ‘busy’ as being productive. Well, we all know that the hamster in the wheel is busy-but not very productive.

The focus on energy is so very important. I am revisiting my daily routines because things are changing dramatically with my husband going on the road 5 days a week for his new consulting job.

I want to and need to be focused and productive so that we can enjoy our now limited time together each week.

Thanks for such an inspiring post!

Kim Miller says

September 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm

This post and Marcus’ definition was so timely! I was up late last night willing myself to go back to sleep because I knew I needed to do so. But what I really wanted to do was to get back in and work on some really great ideas I have for my business.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

Josh Chandler says

September 24, 2010 at 6:26 am


We all need rest to help keep us at the optimum level to run our business. Keep focused, break up the goals into manageable parts and you will be fine. 🙂

Christina Crowe ( @CashCampfire ) says

September 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Very powerful post.

I especially like this quote you included in there: “Imagine a world in which you experienced a rush of gratitude every single time you flipped a light switch and the room lit up. Imagine a world in which after a husband forgot his wife’s birthday, she gave him a big kiss and said, ‘For thirteen of the last fourteen years you remembered my birthday! That’s wonderful!'”

I also find your definition of “strengths” to be interesting. Like you, I had thought that a person’s strengths were just things the person was good at. I’m generally very creative, so I’m pretty good with sketching and writing. I’m alright in graphic design as well, though I’m still learning. Based on the things I’m good at, I had thought my strengths were sketching and writing. However, sometimes sketching can prove tiring to me, especially if the sketch requires color. On the other hand, I love writing and graphic design. I also love reading. After doing all three of these things, I can definitely say that I feel stronger as a result.

So, while I’m good at sketching, sketching doesn’t have to be a strength. In reality, my strengths are writing, reading and graphic design, even though I don’t have much experience with graphic design yet. I enjoy these activities, and they’re fulfilling when I do them. That’s enough for me.

Inspiring read!


Sonia Simone says

September 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm

That, for me, is the neat part — when you find a strength that you haven’t mastered yet. It means you’ve got many enjoyable hours ahead getting to mastery. 🙂

Christina Crowe ( @CashCampfire ) says

September 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Thanks, Sonia! I agree entirely. Graphic design is really something totally different from what I’m doing on a regular basis, so it tends to eat up a lot of time as I toy with it and learn the ropes. That’s alright for me, though. It just leaves little time to do other things.

Andy Fogarty says

September 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

A great way to build the business you love.

I think it’s so strange how we all start out on our own because we have something we love doing and could see ourselves building for years and years, but then somehow get lost in all the madness of business.

It’s important to take a step back from time to time and remember what got you excited in the beginning.

Devin Elder says

September 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm

“Energy management problem” – This is perfect and hits the nail on the head.

I’m of the opinion that ‘time’ as a work measurement is completely off – energy and results are the real commerce of progress.

“Leverage core competencies and outsource the rest” is my motto – thanks for a great read Sonia 🙂

Zach says

September 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Well said.

Exceptional success requires a minimum threshold of innate ability and then a obsessive amount of work. If you find the right work, the obsession should come naturally. If you don’t do what you obsess about, then you’re not doing the right thing…yet. Discover your obsession, obsess, thrive, retire, die.

Leon Noone says

September 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm

G’Day Sonia,

I’ve been fortunate to have had a couple of great mentors in my time. One used to say, “Don’t talk about strengths and weaknesses. Talk about strengths and limitations. The trick is to build on you strengths and limit the effect of your limitations.”

When I started in business yonks ago, another–he was a millionaire–said, “Don’t go into business to make money. Anyone can do that. Decide on something you’d really like to be able to do, and use the business as a vehicle to enable you to do it.”

Another drew my attention to that great old business axiom: “Do only those things to which you bring a unique perspective. Buy everything else around the corner.”

It was the great Robert Mager who said, “If your job isn’t fun, change your job.” And he didn’t mean find a new position.

So, may I add, make sure you have fun.

Thanks for a most stimulating post.



Josh Chandler says

September 24, 2010 at 6:27 am


Sounds as though you have been fortunate to have some great mentors. I recently began to realize the power this type of partnership can hold. 🙂

Darren Scott Monroe says

September 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Bravo!!!! >>> “find partners who are energized by the tasks that exhaust and deplete you. If you can’t find the right partner, outsource the aspects of your business that make you want to crawl back into bed.” Bravo!!!!

Jean Gogolin says

September 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Sonia, this is one of your Best Evers! I just reinvented my business — new website and blog — which included learning and Headway. I don’t even take lunch breaks I’m having such a good time. Now to build that blog readership . . . .

BTW, is your hair still pink? Can’t tell from your little thumbnail.

Sonia Simone says

September 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Thanks so much!

And yes, it’s very, very pink. 🙂 Sometimes it’s blonder in front, as it was in that picture. This week it’s just a big cloud of pink.

Stanford @ PushingSocial says

September 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I really like this quote:
“The truth is, it’s not a time management problem — it’s an energy management one. ”

For years I’ve been held hostage by the time management gurus to only discover (in the last few months) that when I manage my passion the rest follows. For a moment there I thought it was my own little secret…now it seems that I’m not alone 🙂

Sonia, is it possible that your post keep getting better? It seems like long vacations in France suit you!

Sonia Simone says

September 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Ha! Make sure we point that last sentence out to my Copyblogger Media partners. 😀

To answer that question in a non-snarky way, taking regular renewal breaks definitely helps my writing. 🙂

Gordon Rowland says

September 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Thanks Sonia for a thought-provoking, action-provoking article. Reminds me that I’m so overwhelmed by running a business with almost no outside help, I haven’t even made time to keep up with Remarkable Marketing.

I MUST delegate office management and book-keeping, etc. to someone more efficient and better qualified than me. Allowing me to spend more time on the things that energize me: researching, writing, photography, giving public audio-visual presentations, improving and monetizing my website.

Sonia Simone says

September 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I hear you, that has been really, really hard for me. I finally had to decide to spend the first 30 minutes of each work day just working on delegation. Which I still don’t always do, but even the kinda-sorta has helped quite a bit.

It’s hard to let go of that stuff, and hard to find the time/energy to do the work of handing it over. I will tell you, though, that is is worth it. 🙂

Gordon Rowland says

September 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Oh! . . . and catching up with Remarkable Marketing!

Talia says

September 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm

The truth is, it’s not a time management problem — it’s an energy management one.

When you focus on your strengths, you do the work that gives you energy. You do the work that drives you, that makes you giggle, that keeps you up late because you’re just having too much fun to stop.

When you’re starting out, you do everything. You build the blog site and write all the content and do the bookkeeping and answer the support emails. Some of those things build you up and some wear you down.

This really resonated with me. I think you’re absolutely right. It’s one of the challenges of running any small business. The more you can focus the easier it is. Unfortunately it’s very easy to get distracted in the online world…

John says

September 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Thanks for the post. This is right in line with my thoughts over the last few days so naturally it provoked me to comment.

Do what you love and love what you do!

Faith says

September 21, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Sonia, Great insight on energy versus time management! Well written and thought provoking article. I’m a believer.
Faith Ralston, Play to Your Strength Consulting

Carole says

September 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I just love the idea of partnering with someone who enjoys doing the things that I find annoying or don’t enjoy doing! I’m keeping my eye out for that person now…..

And kudos to you for delegating those things that are such a drain on your time! I’m proud of you 🙂

Jered says

September 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm


I really like your suggestion to “Do more of what your readers and customers adore.”

I think when we’re trying to grow, if we focus on getting better at and doing more of what we’re doing right, we can really hit the ball out of the park.

I agree that delegating is extremely hard. A lot of times it comes down to the fact that we have a hard time trusting others to do what we want done with integrity. It’s a rough step to overcome, but when we entrust others, it can free up more of our time so that we can focus on what we’re good at.

Thank you for this, Sonia! This made my day.

Pamela Wilson says

September 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Looks like it’s time for me to take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, and start listing the energy adding and energy draining activities.

It makes a lot of sense to filter to-do items this way. Thanks for connecting the dots, Sonia!

Gabrielle says

September 21, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Have you been peeping on my computer? I just found that article by Buckingham last Friday on Oprah. How amazing here you are writing about this. Thanks for writing about this and explaining it more. You’ve given me some new insights.

Sonia Simone says

September 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Now I’m channeling Oprah! Who knew? That’s an awesome coincidence — I found Marcus Buckingham because the Heath brothers pointed to his work in Switch so I figured I’d check it out.

Michael Wilson says

September 21, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Great message, Sonia.

It was good for me to hear it again today – manage energy and focus on the activities that give me energy. When I lose track of time, I know I’m on the right path.

I agree with Jered too – sometimes its hard to delegate, especially on things that I’m actually good at. It’s a lot easier when I am measuring the task by whether I get juiced up about it; no matter how good I am at it, if it isn’t energizing, it’s a candidate for outsourcing (or partnering!).


Lesley says

September 21, 2010 at 11:56 pm

I wonder what the world would be like if schools and colleges, instead of stuffing heads with facts, spent time helping each child find out where their strengths lay, and then helped them maximize them.

Many of the writers I’ve worked with came to it late because they didn’t recognize that it was a strength, and missed years of happy writing as a result.

Ivin says

September 22, 2010 at 12:57 am

If it irks you, shirk it! Plain and simple. I believe in doing what you love. I hate doing sales and don’t know if I’ll be able to blog/write for a living without doing any sales…

Joe B says

September 22, 2010 at 3:45 am

That really redefines “strengths”. I am in the process of finding a partner to take over some of the tedious tasks that seem to consume my time so I can focus on what gets me up in the morning. This article is very reassuring. Thanks,


Peter Abatan says

September 22, 2010 at 4:25 am

Life is a journey, and during that journey we have to find the right exit that leads us to discovering what our strengths are. For some it takes considerably longer than others to find what their strengths are.

Thanks Sonia for this insightful post! Love it!

Steve Benedict says

September 22, 2010 at 6:43 am


When a CB post hits my InBox, I can scan the first few paragraphs and spot your style immediately. I enjoy the integration of wise stuff with humor.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for 40 years and you hit this one out of the park. You really “bring it” with every column. Damn the trolls, full speed ahead!

Steve Benedict

Sonia Simone says

September 22, 2010 at 10:07 am

Aw, thanks Steve, always nice to see you here. 🙂

Simon Bunker says

September 22, 2010 at 6:44 am

Great post and I love the story about Yo-Yo Ma. I recently found myself doing the same thing. Essentially dropping the things that I was expected to do – thoroughly liberating! and now am paying attention to the things that I am strong at.
Great post Sonia

nate says

September 22, 2010 at 6:59 am

Thanks so much for reminding me of this truth, Sonia!

I came across StregthFinders 2.0 by Tim Roth a while ago and really enjoyed the concepts he presented about different kinds of strengths and a sound method of getting closer to yours. As an added bonus, you would also be able to help others find theirs! What a nice treat that would be, to help someone find their strengths!

I am also reminded of a deeper conept at work here. Nelson Mandella said in a speech ( I will paraphrase), “…it is not the dark that scares us most, it is our light, our potential…”.

I don’t want came first: our cultures desire to toil away at our weaknesses, or our fear of experiencing our full potential, but they are very prevelant in corporate, professional america today. Up until recently, I was in the Marine Corps. Talk about an organization focused on working on your weaknesses. As I progressed through the ranks, I saw the need to develop some new and necessary skills, but I also more on more saw the need to embrace my strengths and task others according to their strengths. This was a a very polarizing strategy. Those that worked for me loved the freedom and excitement that came with being absorbed in tasks that catered to their stregnths. On the other hand though, peers and supierors didn’t necessarily agree with the strategy.

Ultimately… I left to embrace my potential….on my own terms.

Thanks for the great post. These are excellent reminders and benchmarks to be reminded of along our individual journies.

Sonia Simone says

September 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

I love that quote — Mandela was quoting a writer named Marianne Williamson.

Erika Barbosa says

September 22, 2010 at 7:30 am

Hi Sonia,

I love the way you explained “strengths.” And thank you for your insights; always gets me thinking 🙂


donald crumbly says

September 22, 2010 at 8:33 am

Hi Sonia, this is my first time here but it won’t be my was so refreshing to hear the truth, after spending so much money fishing through the many lies.of some of the so called gurus out there. Thanks again. Don

Dana Wilson says

September 22, 2010 at 8:55 am

Hi Sonia,
I LOVE your writing voice. Your posts always enable me to take a fresh look at myself and my business and we both benefit! 🙂

Thanks for this inspiring post!

Jeff says

September 22, 2010 at 9:07 am

Perfect – just what I needed!

Beverley Ireland-Symonds says

September 22, 2010 at 9:49 am

I really enjoyed this post. Even as a qualified coach I have never really thought of looking at strengths in this way and I know this is going to help me and clients in my professional life. Thank you. I shall be using this example over and over again.

Sonia Simone says

September 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

I’d heard “focus on your strengths” a number of times, but until I read that quote by Buckingham I wasn’t completely at ease with it. It was a great aha moment for me!

Gordon Rowland says

September 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Sadly, I sometimes have to focus on my weaknesses, especially when it’s my turn to take out the garbage or when the Australian Taxation Office is breathing down my neck.

Does anyone have a cure for that?

Evelyn says

September 22, 2010 at 10:14 am


So well-stated and well-timed. It amazes me sometimes how often we need reminding of such an obvious and simple concept (obvious and simple once you know about it.) And it takes away the guilt over time spent of the activites you love!

Thanks for simplifying the categorization of activities you keep and those you should delegate. I am at the beginning (managing all tasks), but now have a simple way of focusing my goals and future activities.

Rich D. says

September 22, 2010 at 11:08 am

I spent years running a small photography business with a mediocre revenue stream. Colleagues kept telling me to shoot weddings to make more money, and I hated the idea of wasting a Saturday and dealing with brides.

Once I started shooting weddings, I discovered that the skills required matched my strengths. Brides want my photojouranalisitc style and the most creative work I can perform. They leave me alone, and I have all day to create for them. It’s a great match. I look forward to it all week.

I also used to think that teaching wasn’t for me, until I was invited to participate in seminars and write a blog about what I’ve learned in my photography career. It’s very rewarding.

Alex Moscow says



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