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Exercise to Strengthen Your Weaker Skill Sets

Exercise to Strengthen Your Weaker Skill Sets

I can’t do a pull-up to save my life. I know this, I accept this, and I rarely ever try. When it comes to working out, I push myself but there are some exercises I simply avoid. Pull-ups are one of them.

Imagine my distress when I saw 100 pull-ups as part of my gym’s workout of the day (WOD). One. Hundred. Pull-ups. I looked at the trainer incredulously. Is this a joke?

“No,” he replied, “but you have options. You can do the full pull-up. You can use the band to support you. Or you can use the TRX. You have three choices, but you have to do 100 pull-ups in some way.” I grimaced. I shouldn’t have come today, I thought. Maybe I can still sneak out.

I immediately gravitated towards the TRX, the easiest of the three options, but when I noticed no one else was starting off that easy my competitive side flared up. No way could I do a full pull-up, but I could damn well try with the band.

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To my surprise, I didn’t do as badly as I expected. Between the band and the TRX, I completed the 100 pull-ups with time to spare and then went on to complete the rest of the WOD, which also focused on shoulders and upper body – two of my biggest weaknesses.

The trainer looked at me as I struggled to lift a bar over my head for the fiftieth time and nodded his head, “good job.”

“My upper body is weak,” I instantly replied, “which is why this workout is… perfect for me.” I had originally planned to say awful instead of perfect but I realized how ridiculous that sounded. Why would it be awful to train to improve my weaknesses? Isn’t that the point of exercise?

When I went home that night, this thought stuck with me. What else do I avoid improving in favor of striving in other areas in my life? When I assessed my skills as a marketer, this trend became apparent to me. My strengths lie in branding, strategy, communication, inbound marketing, and sales. I am not as proficient with SEO and digital advertising, for example, and so I often outsource these aspects of my work instead of reading and researching on how to improve my skills. I focus on reading up on the topics that I’m already comfortable with to further hone those skills.

It’s essential to be an expert in something, so I will never condemn constantly updating your skill set in the areas where you are already strong. The problem is it has become so easy to outsource our weaker areas to freelancers and experts in other fields that we don’t always take the time to delve into these topics regularly to at least be able to carry thoughtful and comprehensive conversations on these subjects. As bodybuilders will tell you, focusing only on your areas of strength will leave you looking uneven and a little bit silly.

[Related: Why It's So Difficult for Women to Become Online Experts and How to Overcome These Limitations]


Maya Itani is the Managing Director and Principal Consultant of Itani & Company, a strategic marketing consultancy based in the UAE. The psychology of marketing absolutely fascinates her and has led her to become an award winning practitioner with a decade of experience working with both multinationals and SMEs.

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