12 years ago, I purchased my first shares of common stock. Up until then, I'd always "played it safe" with mutual funds. But lucky for me, one day I overheard a good buddy of mine, who I considered a clever fella, talking stocks around the water cooler.

I learned that he purchased individual stocks in addition to mutual funds. He purchased stock in companies of which he was well acquainted, and whose futures seemed to have a lot of upside and potential for growth. That potential for growth was "baked into" the share price. I later learned that this was shorthand for "value investing." Think companies like Netflix, Amazon, etc.

So I decided to jump in and get my feet wet.

During my first few years investing in individual common stocks, I had my fair share of losers. I had a few winners, too, but I seemed to be much more in the red than I was in the black. And when I did manage to get some gains, instead of letting my winners run, I would get nervous and cash out early. My thinking was: "How much higher can this stock really go?"

On the flip-side, I was very hesitant to sell my losers, thinking they would eventually, one day, come back. Few of them ever did. But as I gained more experience, I gradually altered my approach, and it has made all the difference in the world. These days, I do very much the opposite - I am quick to sell my losers and "let my winners run."

Owning stock is similar to how you deal with your personal strengths and "weaknesses." I put weaknesses in quotations because it is a misnomer. Too often, we feel pressured to improve upon our weaknesses, instead of embracing our strengths.

Like our winners in the stock market, we should embrace our strengths by "buying more" and "letting them run." And when it comes to our weaknesses, we should resist the pressure to bring them up to a level of mediocrity. Choose to instead focus on your strengths - the world does not benefit when we are all trying to be the same.

There's a reason the linemen on the New England Patriots are never seen working on their throwing skills.

Why should we all be the same? What does your organization gain by bringing your weaknesses up to a level of mediocrity? Shouldn't it be more interested in leveraging your strengths?