Gap Plugging increases Strength

We are a sum total of our strengths and weaknesses. Some weaknesses are minor, and they  can be ignored. Some are not so minor, and so, ignoring these may adversely affect us. Lets call these weaknesses GAPS.

A gap therefore is a weakness/deficit, that needs to be plugged, lest it causes some damage.

Each of us has at least a few gaps. The best way forward is identify the most damaging ones, and to plug them as soon as possible. Doing so, will not only remove the weakness, but it will make us stronger. Often however, we are not aware of these gaps, and this is a potentially dangerous situation. If we cannot identify the gaps, then who can?

Can others identify and/or even plug our gaps?

The answer is YES! But, permit me to explain this through an example:

Many people today realize that Effective Communication is one of the key differentiators that can make the difference between a good leader and a great one. When people approach me, to coach them, to improve their fluency, I ask them what they think their problem is. They say they feel tongue tied because they suffer from deficient vocabulary. So they ask me to strengthen their English in general, and their vocabulary in particular. On assessing them, I find, that in 9 out of 10 cases, these people have a reasonably good vocabulary, but they lack confidence. Their lack of confidence causes pressure in some situations. Naturally,  when the mind is pressured, it does not function properly. So what is considered a fluency issue, will not be remedied by improving vocabulary. Building their confidence, improves their fluency. Because their gap was identified properly, and they worked on the right solution, they got the desired outcome. Their original assumption would not have helped them overcome their imagined deficiency. A wrong diagnosis can never achieve a favourable result. So, identifying the root cause of the problem is the first step to appropriate gap filling. The second step is figuring out the best solution.

An experienced person, should be able to identify routine problems. An expert should be able to identify even hidden problems, and further, they should even know how to tackle it effectively. Trying to solve major issues by trial and error is not only costly, it is also time consuming, and sometimes result in disaster. Gap filling is best done by getting advice/opinion from someone who knows a fair amount about the issue.

Could a friend help us?

Sure….  if the friend has expertise in the area where we need help. Otherwise its the blind, leading the blind. Teenagers land themselves in a host of problems when they approach their peers, rather than someone who really knows how to remedy the challenges they face. But this also applies to some adults who only approach people who are too kind or too scared to point out their flaws. In doing so, they keep their problems ‘hidden’ from themselves.

How do we know whether we have gaps?

Here are some indicative pointers:

1. Have you suffered because of a particular deficit (lack of confidence for example, or fear of public speaking, or meeting new people) over a fair length of time ?

2. Have you reached a plateau… where no matter what you did, you were not able to get to the next level?

3. Have different people been pointing out the same flaw/s for months/years?

4. Do you ever feel that you could do a lot more in life… but don’t know where to start, or how to get ahead?

If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, then you have a gap or two that need to be plugged.

Once you find out what to do, then do not waste time… START working on your issues immediately. The sooner you correct your deficits, the better you will be…. and the more you will achieve. Now lets move over to the other side….

Can you help others to plug their gaps?

If you are able to help others identify and plug their gaps, then you have value that can be useful to many. This is a skill that could benefit others ( for example… you may be a good analyzer, or you may be able to read people well ). If however, in spite of having such a skill, if  people are not able to spot that  skill in you, then maybe you should re-position yourself. Here are some ideas that will work.

1. Clearly show/demonstrate your areas of expertise… so that people can choose whether they want to approach you for help. If your friends don’t know what you can do for them, then they will surely not approach you.

2. Although each of us feels that we can advise the world, if we DO NOT have expertise in the area that is important to the other person, let us NOT play hero and  ‘hope’ to find a solution. Sometimes amateur advice causes more damage than the original problem.

3. In a world full of experts, there are enough people who can competently handle our issues.  So lets not ask for opinions from people around us who are not so knowledgeable.

In a world that expects a higher standard, lets learn – how to plug gaps, so that we and our partners will be stronger.

Stronger partners make stronger relationships.

May your gaps be plugged…and may you be better than you were before.

In a world that expects competence, effectiveness and efficiency as an entry level requirement, we should be as solid as we can be.

I wish you strength and solidity!

Ian Faria.

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