We all have weaknesses, and we tend to try to work on eliminating them – on changing ourselves in order to become better. But change is difficult- very difficult. What if instead of trying to eliminate our weaknesses, we embraced them for what they were?
Several months ago, my friend Ben Rosner, CEO of e-home and a fellow member of Entrepreneur’s Organization, led an activity on weaknesses and strengths with my EO Forum group, based on the excellent Freak Factor manifesto by David Rendall. I found the activity to be so insightful and inspiring, I did the activity with my team at Likeable Local– and then with our team at Likeable Media. I thought I’d share it with you here as well:
Think about your biggest weaknesses at work and in life. What qualities are you most unhappy about? Of the following list of 16 typical weaknesses, look carefully and choose the three that resonate most with you:
Got your three biggest weaknesses? Great. (Don’t be too depressed, the rest of this activity is more fun). Next, look at the below list, find the same three weaknesses, and look at the traits to the right of each of your three biggest weaknesses:
1) Disorganized —> Creative
2) Inflexible —> Organized
3) Stubborn —> Dedicated
4) Inconsistent —> Flexible
5) Obnoxious —> Enthusiastic
6) Emotionless —> Calm
7) Shy —> Reflective
8) Irresponsible —> Adventurous
9) Boring —> Responsible
10) Unrealistic —> Positive
11) Negative —> Realistic
12) Intimidating —> Assertive
13) Weak —> Humble
14) Arrogant —> Self-Confident
15) Indecisive —> Patient
16) Impatient —> Passionate
The three qualities to the right of your three weaknesses are all strengths.
Hidden in your weaknesses are your strengths.
Every weakness has a corresponding strength.
The idea here is simple: Instead of trying to change your weaknesses, accept them. Don’t try to fix them – it’s too difficult. Instead, be sure to leverage your associated strengths. You can look to colleagues, direct reports, and even supervisors to fill in the gaps where you are weakest. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help- they can add value where you are weaker. But be sure to embrace your strengths, and build upon them. After all, your strengths (even those disguised as weaknesses) – will get you far in your career, and in life.
Now it’s your turn. Did this activity resonate with you? Were the strengths corresponding with your weaknesses accurate? What are your greatest weaknesses – and strengths? What are the takeaways for you at work and in life? Let me know your thoughts in the Comments section below! And here’s to your secret strengths!
Dave Kerpen is disorganized, unrealistic and impatient – which means he’s creative, positive and passionate! For more information about this activity, be sure to check out the excellent book Freak Factor by David Rendall. For more on Dave Kerpen, check out the New York Times best seller Likeable Social Media and the Amazon #1 best seller Likeable Business. Or click the follow button below for more of Dave’s posts on LinkedIn.