When Weakness Becomes a Strength
Can a strength also be a weakness? As a coach I teach my clients to focus on their strengths most of the time; but it’s also important to recognize our weaknesses. The parts of us that are sometimes better left unseen, the insecurities, the moodiness, the fears. It is only as we understand our weaknesses that we can truly utilize our strengths.
It’s Part of Our Personal History
First, we must determine where our weaknesses originate. We are all creatures of habit and thought patterns are nothing more than habitual thinking. Somewhere along the line we “learned” fear of something and that fear stayed with us throughout our adult life. It shows up in ways that we don’t necessarily realize.
For example, when I was very young, in my very earliest memories I remember my mom talking about her fear that my dad would leave us. She was very descriptive with her words and she painted a very bleak picture of what life would be like if this were to happen to us. This was a real fear for my young mother and she talked about it to me, her very young daughter.
There was no reaction on my part all those years ago as I was far too young to respond. However, years later I fell into a pattern of survival. There was something ingrained in my being that told me that I should always be the one who leaves a relationship first, and that I must never depend upon a man.
Finding Strength in Unlikely Places
As an adult this drive became a professional strength for me. I don’t quit, I don’t give up. I work harder and I achieve more, simply because I feel that I must. The same drive or strength that caused me to be successful in my career also guided me to numerous failed relationships and a habit of bailing out before I could be hurt. It wasn’t until I clearly understood my strength as a weakness that I was able to put it behind me.
I have read stories of actors and actresses who say they are excellent at their craft because they are incredibly insecure in life and acting allows them to be able to escape their insecurity and be someone else for a time. My article The Secret Voice of Your Inner Fraud covers the topic as well.
In fact, I have known very successful businessmen who didn’t succeed because they wanted to succeed, but instead succeeded because they were terrified of failing. Their fear of failure was stronger than any true desire to succeed.
Making the Most of Your Gifts
Understanding your strength as a weakness is the first step in learning to make the most of your talents and gifts. Once you take away the weakness, all that is left is strength. And that will take you farther than you can even imagine.
For more on looking within and finding strength you might like Confidence By Choice.
Cynthia Corsetti, CPCC, MS is a certified career coach, executive coach and leadership speaker whose focus is on improving employee engagement.