Every process in life can be plagued by distractions, those seductive avenues that lure you outside the framework of viable action, and march you down some futile or non-productive course. The process of identifying the best of your true self and your personal virtues can be derailed by side paths that lead you to focus on your weak points instead of your strengths.

In all of the thinking about yourself that I encourage, never do I ask anyone to define or dwell upon his or her weak points. I do not do so for a simple reason: it is not a productive exercise.  Build upon and from the strengths that you have.  All the assets required for career fulfillment lie within you, waiting to bear fruit.  Strengths can form a foundation to build upon; weaknesses cannot.

Imagine an eager entrepreneur, preparing to launch her new business. She reviews her personal assets and discovers that she lacks any proficiency or experience in bookkeeping and accounting.  In fact, she can be intimidated by numbers. Should she immediately halt the launch and abandon the enterprise? Would it be beneficial for her to recall her struggles with math in school, or to regret that she had not made an effort to take an accounting or finance class? Of course not. There are other ways to fill the gaps in any business needs that may exist. What is most important is that she has cultivated the attributes that got her to a place where she can start her own business. That, for example, she cultivated her aptitude for marketing, or for unique design, or for novel production techniques; whatever differentiates her and what her business will offer, that is what truly matters.

Identify the positive personal attributes you have.  Then cultivate them as well as you can.  Therein lie your true competitive edge and the beginning of your path to success and fulfilment.

Keith Danko is the creator of Within Your Grasp www.within-your-grasp.com, and the co-managing partner of Stonegate Alternative Solutions and the founder of Witherspoon Partners, leading players in the alternative asset industry. He has over three decades of experience building and managing businesses, most notably restructuring and serving as CEO of ACAM Advisors. He also served as CEO of CQS US, and as an executive director of Goldman Sachs, where he built the firm’s international asset-backed securities business. A Duke University graduate with a Harvard MBA, Keith has written extensively on trends and careers in alternative assets, is a frequent contributor to SmartBrief on Leadership, and authored the influential white paper “Portable Alpha: An Updated Perspective.” Follow him on Twitter at @WithinYourGrasp.

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