We all have weaknesses; it’s just a fact. So why do we have a tendency to hide, mask, or defend our weaknesses rather than embracing them? I think it is because we have a fear of being judged. Well, I am putting myself out there, and I recently made a commitment to addressing one of my own weaknesses (or areas of opportunity for improvement, as I like to call them) and sharing what I learned.
One of my biggest weaknesses is communicating my ideas in written form. In college, I would wait until the last minute to write a paper and pull an all-nighter to get it done. It wasn’t because I procrastinated; rather, it was because I was avoiding my weakness. I can write processes and procedures, document facts, etc., but when it comes to articulating my own ideas on paper, it does not come naturally. Unlike many, I would rather stand up in front of a group and verbally explain my thoughts, which works in some situations but not all. I had always viewed writing as a weakness of mine until recently. Now I view it as one of my greatest areas of opportunity for improvement. Writing will probably never be my greatest strength, but by making a concerted effort to work on it, I will at least improve.
Maybe the steps I took to address and improve my weakness can help you, too:
1. Admit your weakness; understand that everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
Being self-aware is the first step and an important one. We all have weaknesses, some we admit and others we try to hide. In my experience, the ones we try to hide or mask are the most important weaknesses to work on. Is there anything that you’re overcompensating for?
2. Lose your ego (This is the toughest part!); look at it as an opportunity for growth and not a weakness
Our egos are the number one obstacle to changing or improving a weakness. We tend to feel vulnerable, and when that happens we either fight or flee… It’s animal instinct. We are protecting our egos. It’s only when we accept our weakness and overcome our egos that we are able to constructively work on a weakness.
3. Commit to addressing your opportunity for growth constructively.
This step can only happen if you really want to learn/grow/change. If you’re not committed to addressing a weakness because it was someone else’s idea, or you really don’t care, you will not really grow. I really want to be better at sharing my ideas in written form. I have always known it is a weakness of mine, but I finally made the commitment to work on it.
4. Identify people who can help you.
All of the best athletes, executives, and performers have a team helping them be their best, and you should too. I identified the following types of people to help me:
a. People I trust, that won’t judge but will give me honest feedback
b. An Accountability Partner – someone who will be honest and hold me accountable to my plan
c. Someone whose greatest strength is my weakness
If you are avoiding your weaknesses and just relying on your strengths, you aren’t growing. For me, I never want to stop growing and improving myself both personally and professionally. I invite you all to join to the program. Always Be Growing!