“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.” —Susan Gale
Weaknesses are nothing to be ashamed of. However, in an increasingly competitive world, we often feel like we have to hide them, or dismiss them in some way, or overcompensate in other ways that are simply not natural for us. Your true power lies in not only how you act on your strengths, but also how you interpret and take action on your weaknesses.
By being mindful of these areas, you can better position yourself for success. Here are 3 really solid reasons why transforming your weakness into your strengths will help you make this your best year ever.
You will understand your unique superhero powers:
Can you imagine what it would feel like to unearth that you have SUPERHERO powers? You do! And once discovered, these superhero powers can be applied to help you create your very best life.
Most of us take our strengths for granted because it’s the things that we do naturally, often without even thinking. We often assume and expect that everyone else can do the same things we can and it can be a huge realisation to discover this isn’t the case. According to Gallup, the chances of us having the same Top 10 strengths as someone else is 1 in 6 billion people!
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger
And when you have an opportunity to do what you do the best every day your engagement and productivity will increase together with your overall happiness and well-being.
It will help you to stop judging yourself and others:
Whether we know it or not, we judge ourselves and other people based on our strengths. For example, as someone with the strength of Maximizer (people with the strength of maximizer measure themselves against excellence, not average), you can easily become disappointed with yourself when an initiative falls short of your definition of excellence. That definition may look very different for others who don’t share your Maximizer strength.
“Anything that you cannot sacrifice pins you. Makes you predictable, makes you weak.”
― Mark Lawrence
When you understand how you both see the world based on your strengths it breaks down the judgment between you and helps you appreciate each other for what you bring, rather than being frustrated by it.
You will learn to better manage your weaknesses:
When you understand your strengths, you have an opportunity to learn about you at your best. It’s exactly the same for your weaknesses. If you understand what they are and learn to leverage them, through understanding your weakness, you have a superpower.
Even superheroes have an Achilles heel that can cause their superpowers to show up as weaknesses, both to themselves and others. For example, as an Activator, you are fantastic at getting things started and creating positive energy. When things don’t get done as quickly as you’d like you might become impatient, which can lead to chaos and confusion. Recognising what our triggers are can help us to catch and interrupt them and change course before they cause us problems.
There are also those activities that we dread doing, the things that zap of us of both our time and our energy. You know the ones that sit at the bottom of your to-do list that never seem to get done. Instead, gather information to make sure something useful happens, even if you need to collaborate with someone to sort through the clutter and find the most effective route.
When you’re not afraid of your weaknesses it’s powerful and liberating. It’s the place where true learning and growth comes from.
It allows you to be open to the amazing contributions of other people around you and their strengths that will complement and support you in your weaknesses. When you hide or are afraid of your weaknesses you push people away and isolate them because of a fear that you’re not good enough. Working with people who have strengths you don’t help you open up to different perspectives.
Based on research by Dr Alex Linley, it’s unusual for a genuine weakness to become a genuine strength. The good news is that you can improve to a point where you can avoid letting them trip you up. Here are some tips that canhelp:
Understand Who You Are:
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” ―Marcus Aurelius
You can’t turn a weakness into a strength if you’re not aware the weakness exists. So start by figuring out what your weaknesses are. Online assessment tools can help you identify your weaknesses so you can start working on them.
There are a number of inexpensive profiling tests based on answers to sets of questions that can profile personality traits and abilities. Examples of popular indicator tests are the Myers-Briggs and the Highlands Ability Battery. The goal of these tests is simple: self-awareness. There is a disparity between what we think about ourselves versus how others see us. Those are the most difficult situations to address and correct.
Depending on the test, the profile will vary. Skills versus interests, relatability to people, your analytical engine, knowledge and intelligence, perfectionism versus more “loose”. Unless you categorically disagree with the results, review and understand – – these tests do an incredible job of deconstructing personalities and abilities. Don’t worry too much about the labels or the conclusions that such tests offer up, instead use them as a way of really getting to know yourself – I find many of my therapy clients do this during our assessment. That is, they learn much about themselves that is therapeutic before the actual therapy has (supposedly) even started.
Make an “I Wish I…” List:
“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” ―Bob Marley
Now that you know your profile, think about the things you know about yourself that frustrate you but you have a difficult time controlling. Harvard Business Review research shows that 97% of people can readily identify a self-limiting habit they have. Are you messy? Not punctual? Difficult time meeting new people? Lack of attention to detail? Forgetful? Lazy? Don’t take enough action?
If you’re struggling to figure out what your weaknesses are, ask someone you trust – a friend, a family member, a boss, or a trusted colleague. Tell them the reason you want to understand your weaknesses and they’ll be more honest with you. The hard part is acknowledging these traits, realising that they’re not imperfections, but simply individual details that make up the whole you.
Utilise To-Do List Techniques:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” –Mary Anne Radmacher
Keep a to-do list and get all of your critical actions on the list and review it several times a day. If you’re messy or disorganised, there are systems available for things like that and you can set calendar reminders for cleaning, organising, following-up, etc. For challenges like anxiousness and irritability, those are more difficult to find workarounds. However, there are ways to solve these issues too. Try to put things into context, take deep breaths, apply relaxing techniques, slowly you will see improvements. Finally, never stop trying to use that to your advantage!
Work on Your Weakness:
“You are strong when you know your weaknesses. You are beautiful when you appreciate your flaws. You are wise when you learn from your mistakes.” ―Unknown
It’s difficult to get better until you look honestly at your past failures and find out why they happened. It might not be much fun but it’ll be worth it.
More often than not, the best defence against weakness is to overwhelm it with excellent preparation. For instance, if you believe you’re not good at speaking in public, next time you have to make a presentation, practice your it a few times on your colleagues or friends.
However, some skills are important enough that it’s worth the extra effort to learn more, practice, and achieve a basic level of competence. This practice isn’t always about winning, it’s sometimes about not losing.
Don’t Address Everything At Once:
Your primary weaknesses are those for which you may want to seek additional resources and ongoing support. Consider working with a mentor or coach who can help you outline a plan. Look for opportunities to practice and develop these skills.
“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.” ―Susan Gale
If you try to address all of your weaknesses at the same time, it is possible that you will soon become overwhelmed or discouraged. It is difficult to introduce (and maintain) drastic change. Consider which weaknesses you would most like to work on (no more than two or three), and those to which your current environment is most conducive. Be honest with yourself about whether or not it is truly an area you want to work on. Finally, increase your confidence by reminding yourself of how you developed each of your strengths. While some may have come to you naturally, it is quite possible that others required work, and were once your primary weaknesses.
Embrace Your Weaknesses:
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ―Buddha
We all have weaknesses, and we have to work on eliminating them – on changing ourselves for the better. But change is difficult- sometimes very difficult. Instead of trying to eliminate your weaknesses, how about you embrace them for what they are?
If you think hard enough you’ll almost always find a strength corresponding to any weakness. How about your disorganised friend who’s highly creative or the inflexible one who’s incredibly organised? Stubborn but dedicated; inconsistent but flexible; indecisive but patient? The list goes on…
Critically you need to accept that any
weakness can be turned into a strength. Think about how you can use yours to
“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” ―Dalai Lama
Finally, don’t forget that you can always improve, in everything you do. More knowledge, more understanding, more training, more practice, more, more, more.
Many of the issues that caused me to be self-conscious and feel flawed as a teenager, are now idiosyncrasies that I use to market my business today and my quirks help me to stand out from many of my professional peers. Things that I once believed were weaknesses, are now strong pillars of my business and it’s ethos.
You’ll be much more confident about your value after you realise that it is more important to harness your strengths instead of dwelling on your weaknesses, and in turn, convert them into positives. That will be rewarding for you both personally and professionally.
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