“Know the impact you have on others when you are feeling joy.
Know and value the unique process or system you use to sense how to create that impact. Then…take embodied action!” – Kathryn
It’s time to re-think “weakness.”
Why? So that extraordinary people (you!), can a) stop inadvertently self-sabotaging and b) mindfully make choices that create the possibility to live the lives of impact you are meant to achieve – with joy, ease and financial sustainability.
An assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses is considered to be part of a leader’s tool box.
The problem is that we are thinking about it the wrong way.
“Weakness” is a charged word, full of judgment, comparison, and the influence of past experiences. It is something we must learn to overcome.
When told to “Focus on Your Strengths Not Your Weakness” the shame of the implied deficiency, or lack, or feeling of not being “enough” still remains in our awareness.
Instead, I invite you to consider that your weakness may actually BE your strength. It may be your superpower, or part of the causes and conditions you use to have impact.
What?! If so, what might that mean? It could change everything!
This month I’m coaching leaders to put their best foot forward in job searches, and preparing for the proverbial “What do you think your biggest weakness is?” interview question. There are literally millions of articles offering good advice on how to respond. However, the missing piece to address before preparing, is to be an expert on yourself – with clarity on what is and is not a true weakness vs. your unique way that you create impact.
For instance, one of the leaders in our Mindful Leadership Cohort shared that for a long time they thought of themselves as indecisive, and that in the top leadership role, this was a weakness, and that others had even commented about it. Upon reflection and gathering data, the leader realized that in fact, their “indecisiveness” was an indication of having a keen sense that more consensus needed to be built before moving forward, and that time to process and create a path forward was needed. And, that when they did this… extraordinary impact was achieved! Once we understand our own process – and value it, then communication strategies, timelines and other tools can be created. The weakness of indecisiveness shifted to having a superpower of being able to sense when a project needs to percolate for a little bit longer, allowing for it to then catapult to successful implementation!
Another leader in the group is a successful fundraiser. As an introvert, they used to view their lack of comfort and ease speaking to large groups as a weakness, something to be overcome, and even had thoughts that they would not be able to advance in the development or executive leadership field. Over time, they realized that it was their ability to sense how to truly and authentically connect with donors in individual interactions that was their gift. It was not a question of “overcoming” their weakness, but rather revealing and understanding their impact & joy – their unique superpower – that they have.
Here’s an exercise to test this premise – to see if its true for YOU (it is):
WEAKNESS TO SUPERPOWER – 6 GUIDING QUESTIONS
- Start by making a list of your top weakness(es) – for now, let’s only focus on the ones relating to your professional environment, and “large” enough that you’ve thought about them over the past month. They may be making your feel bad, or they may feel like straightforward facts. They are impacting the choices or assumptions you are making about what is or is not possible for you.
Then for each weakness, answer the following:
- How do you KNOW they are weaknesses? Did you observe them? Did someone tell you? When and why? Be as specific as possible.
- Do you notice any patterns? Does your weakness appear in certain situations, and not in others? Why?
- What is the voice in your head saying? (or even WHO’S voice is it) You should be able to do xx! Why can’t I be more like xx?
- What underlying belief is this revealing? I can’t advance in my career. No one will hire me. I’m not smart enough. Imposter syndrome?
- Now, go back to #2 and think: When your “weakness” appears, how does it HELP you or others (directly or indirectly, now or later)?
- How do you feel when that impact occurs?!
This is a big, juicy, multi-faceted subject, with many opportunities for exploration around imposter syndrome, limiting beliefs, testing assumptions – as well as more tactical strategies like cover letter positioning and interview preparation. If you are new to my work, you may find some of my past BLOGS and exercises helpful.
As always, please let me know how you are doing, and if this resonated with you!
To your success,
Next Chapter Coach
Creator of The Career (Life!) Breakthrough AcademyTM
P.S. – This time of year can be challenging if you’re at a Crossroad Moment, trying to figure out what to do, what is possible, what you (really) want, and what you should do next. If this is YOU or someone you know, I’ve opened up times on my calender to get on the phone for a confidential call.