“Try harder! Work more! Take a class! Go to training! Practice! – Just FIX YOUR WEAKNESSES!”
Are these words familiar to you? Have you heard these phrases over and over again growing up? UGH!
Here is the elephant in the room, “WE ALL have WEAKNESSES!”
There, I said it!
From a strengths-based perspective, a “weakness” is a shortage or misapplication of talent, skill, or knowledge that causes problems for you or others. Another words, it is anything that gets in the way of excellent performance. Ignoring our weaknesses isn’t going to make them disappear. Rather, on the contrary, it will make them worse. So, yes, it is important to understand and acknowledge our own weaknesses. But, what is the Return on Investment (ROI) for fixating on our weaknesses?
“A person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weakness, let alone on something one cannot do alone.” – Peter Drucker
Well, that is a hard question to answer. With additional knowledge, practice, training and a little “luck,” we can improve our weaknesses. But, the bottom line is that our weaknesses will NEVER become our strengths. As defined by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton in Now, Discover Your Strengths, strength is “consistent near-perfect performance in an activity.” Certainly, turning a weakness into strength would be a “tall order to fill.”
Weaknesses can be a number of things. I searched Google for a list of weaknesses just to see what I could find. Interestingly, most articles were about how to answer the infamous question, “What are your weaknesses?” and gave various advice on how to respond to this question during an interview. However, here is one list I found by Tickle:
Fearful, Obstructive, Pushy, Loose-tongued, Mistrustful, Undisciplined, Sloppy, Rude, Contemptuous, Short-sighted, Passive, Aggressive, Bossy, Chaotic, Cynical, Blunt, Stand-offish, Vague, Inflexible, Moody, Indifferent, Intolerant, Wasteful, Stubborn, Reckless, Inhibited, Naïve, Greedy, Fanatical, Dull, Arrogant, Lazy, Selfish, Complaining, Impatient, Hard, Shallow, Strict, Shy, Prejudiced…
My fellow Human Beings, really? Just typing this list started to drain one of my innate talents, positivity. Who the heck wants to focus on fixing any one of those weaknesses? The reality is, if a weakness derails your career, relationships, and actions toward success, it must be addressed. That is what is called a high-impact weakness. In my favorite strengths book, Play to Your Strengths, a high impact weakness is defined as the “lack of knowledge, skill or behavior essential to current or future performance in a role or career.”
So, what do you do? Well, before I get to that, I must also define what a low-impact weakness is. This is a weakness that is just part of our genetic make-up. These types of weaknesses pose no real threat, are easy to manage, and, for a lack of a better word, are simply just a nuisance.
“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” – Loa Tzu
Back to the question: What do we do with our weaknesses?
- If you have a career-limiting, high impact weakness, then you are not playing to your strengths and may need to reassess if this career is even right for you. Recommendation: Invest in a Certified Strength Coach who specializes in Career Coaching.
- Create a plan to manage around your weaknesses.
- Delegate what you are not good at or what you don’t like to do to someone who would love to do it (it could be a task that plays directly to that person’s own strengths and they may even “Thank you”).
- Create a collaborative partnership with someone who compensates for your weaknesses while you compensate for theirs.
- If it is not harmful to you or anyone else and is not a barrier to your success, simply stop doing what you are not good at or don’t like.
“Do what you like to do best, and do it to the very best of your ability.” – David Hawkings
In summary, we all have weaknesses. But putting all our time, energy and focus on fixing our weaknesses will only yield mediocre results. If you want to unlock the door to your greatest potential and success, to be the best of who were born to be, then GO PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS! The first step is to clearly identify and understand your natural born talents. Want to learn more? Then, let’s connect.
Coming Soon: THE TRUTH ~ Myth #3: I MUST STRIVE TO BE WELL-ROUNDED
“I cannot think of a better first step than to discover your innate talents through StrengthsFinder. But it cannot just end there. In order for true transformation to occur, you need to invest in a Coach to learn how to turn talents into strengths and to have an accountability partner walking side-by-side guiding you to get from where you are now to where you want to be.” – Beckie Jorgensen, Certified Strengths Coach