Most of us wish to be identified only with our strengths, don’t we?
Some even try their best to hide their weaknesses. They feel that their weaknesses would make them look vulnerable to others.
I strongly believe in the power of human growth and change, and that we all can constantly revise and improve ourselves. It may be hard work to change ourselves and fix our weaknesses but fortunately, we have all the resources within us to not just fix our weakness but also to turn our weakness into strength.
Turn Weakness into Strength: Case Study
A 10-year-old boy wanted to learn Judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began training with an old Japanese Judo Master Sensei. He was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, in the first 3 months of training the master had taught him only a single move.
Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.
Several months later, the Sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged. The boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his own success, the boy reached the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger and more experienced. The referee was concerned and he called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the Sensei intervened.
The Sensei insisted, “Let him continue.”
Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake. He dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament.
On the way home, the boy and Sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.
“You won for two reasons,” the Sensei answered.
“First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of Judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”
The master helped the boy turn his biggest weakness into his biggest strength!
Strategies to turn weakness into strength
So here are some strategies that I found will help you to transform weaknesses into strengths.
List down all your weaknesses
Make a list of your weaknesses. In case, you are having trouble identifying specific weaknesses, consider incidents in the past that left you feeling insecure or disappointed in your performance.
Next step is to organize these self-identified weaknesses into categories, which can make them seem less overwhelming.
For instance, if you have written your weaknesses as shy, stammering while speaking in public, no ability to maintain eye contact, then you can create a category to work on titled “communication skills”.
Having a list of weaknesses will help you understand which qualities/skills you need to develop. Unless and until one knows what one’s weaknesses are would s/he be able to work on it?
List down all your strengths
After this, identify areas where you excel (your strengths). It’s important to focus on and be aware of your strengths as you create a plan for improvement. Remember, it is important to be objective while doing this instead of judging yourself. Being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses will give you a better understanding of yourself and how you function.
Understanding your strengths will keep you ahead in a lot of things.
For example, if you are looking at career options, you would be able to narrow down specific job scopes based on the things you know you are good at. Whereas knowing your weaknesses will give you a clearer understanding of things that may be holding you back, and you can then work around finding ways to not let your weaknesses pull you behind.
Accept your weaknesses
Once you have identified your weaknesses, accept them with courage. Denying the existence of your weaknesses leaves you no room for improvement. After all, you can’t fix something that you don’t know is broken, can you?
You will have to work consistently on your weaknesses if you want to witness a real positive change. One important point to remember is that, it’s not about saying “I can’t,” but it’s actually about saying, “How can I make this work?”
You hold the responsibility for creating your ideal self and it’s up to you to devise a plan for getting there.
Fully embracing your weaknesses is the first and foremost step to work on them. Doing so would
allow you to make positive changes in your life and creates opportunities for growth.
Ask yourself – “Do I want to make peace with my weaknesses or I want to only conceal them?”
Regardless of what your choice is, fully acknowledging them is the first step.
Treat your weaknesses like a “To-Do” list
In a fixed mindset, you want to hide your flaws so you’re not judged or labelled a failure. In a growth mindset, your flaws are just a TO-DO list of things to improve.” — Derek Sivers
Do you think weaknesses can be changed?
Weaknesses can certainly be changed if we look at it less like downfalls and more like a to-do list or to-improve list. Often we are caught telling ourselves that we are not capable of controlling our own destiny when actually the world is our oyster and we’re one step away from finding our pearl.
If I think my major weakness is my ineffective communication skills, I can easily turn this weakness into my strength.
But how can I do this?
By probably joining some soft skills development course, finding a mentor, reading books, watching TEDx videos, etc. All I have to do is figure out ways to work on my weaknesses.
Set goals to improve your weaknesses. You can refer to this tremendously effective SOFT SEA model to set and achieve your goals. Remember, weaknesses are just diamonds waiting to be discovered and polished into precious strengths.
Believe in your potential
Constantly being reminded of our weaknesses can be disappointing; therefore, most of us learn to avoid activities that involve them. This keeps holding us back from achieving our true potential. To move forward and grow in life, we need to change the way we think.
By believing in your success and ability to change and grow and by acting on it, you’re already making progress. Being optimistic about your future will create more opportunities to take action towards achieving your goals and improving your weaknesses.
With more self-confidence comes more action, and with more action comes bigger pay-offs. You may take on more responsibility at work, voicing your opinion more frequently or learning new skills.
Turning your weaknesses into strengths can be really powerful. By embracing all your weaknesses, you not only improve your skills but also learn to use your weaknesses to your advantage.
Remember, weakness is merely a threat only until caught and corrected.
If you or someone you know has been struggling with their weakness, booking an appointment with a specialist will be a very good idea.
If you are a mental health practitioner who would like to develop advanced therapeutic skills to help people turn their weakness into strengths, check out the Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy™ Program that seamlessly integrates different approaches to psychotherapy (cognitive, behavioural, psycho-dynamic and humanistic) with techniques from Clinical Hypnosis, NLP. Mindfulness and Metaphor Therapy