Should You Ignore Your Weaknesses?

25 November, 2015

Morgan Sessions

Don’t you hate it when you misjudge how many provitas with peanut butter to have with your tea?

And then you finish them all before your tea is even cool enough to drink?

And then you have to run downstairs again and get out the peanut butter again and open the provitas r-e-a-l-l-y q-u-i-e-t-l-y so that your children don’t hear because they’re going to ask why you can have more and they can’t?

And on top of that you desperately want to get your blog post finished so that you can have another little snack before you go into ‘supervise-homework-while-making-supper-and-thinking-of-what’s-for-school-lunch-tomorrow-and-if-that-means-you-need-to-feed-the-yawning-mouth-of-the-breadmaker’ mode.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What’s with the double-snack, lady?” Well, let’s just say that snacking is a weakness. And so is peanut butter. [Don’t judge my eating fetishes and I won’t judge yours.] I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to change my weaknesses and I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth it.

There’s a liberating school of thought that says we shouldn’t worry too much about fixing our weaknesses. Instead, we should focus only on our strengths.

After all, our strengths have got us to where we are today.

You see, when we work within our strengths we are able to:

  • Better understand what makes us valuable and unique
  • Become more inspired and motivated in what we do
  • Dramatically increase our engagement and productivity
  • Appreciate ourselves better
  • Become more confident and self-assured
  • Better articulate the value of our personal brands

Working within our strengths guides us to the work we were designed to do, so that we have a greater impact in the world while being more fulfilled.

Our strengths stop us from being disappointed in ourselves.

But we can’t be great at everything

So does that mean we ignore everything else?

Do we ignore the fact that we’re not fascinating and charismatic; that we give up too easily; that we’re not assertive enough; that we procrastinate, get impatient with our children, or can’t say no to things that delight us?

Some people say yes, that’s exactly what we should do. Because,

You can only ever get marginally better at the things you shouldn’t be doing at all.

It’s worth far more to be the best we can possibly be instead of trying to make a weakness less of a weakness. Spending time fixing our weaknesses saps our energy and erodes our self-confidence. At best, putting effort into our weaknesses makes us mediocre, moving from 1 out of 10 to 3 out of 10.

But here’s the rub

If we really look at it, often our weaknesses point to a strength in the opposite direction.

Let’s say you think you’re not tenacious enough, that you give up too soon. What’s the opposite of that? That you’re flexible and easy-going? That you’re spontaneous and open to new ideas?

It seems that our strengths and weaknesses are just flipsides of the same coin, and that being able to positively evaluate how our weaknesses support us, depends only on the lens we choose to see them through.

So perhaps instead of ignoring them outright the best strategy could be to play to our strengths when we can, temper ourselves when we need to, and surround ourselves with others who balance us out.

What do you think? Should we ignore our weaknesses? Or mitigate them?

Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.