Written by Dr. Adam Coats
Let’s face it, we all have weaknesses. Nobody is great at everything that they do. However, we all know someone who appears to do no wrong. They may be someone in our family, a friend, or a celebrity that we look up to. Whether they are CEO’s, professional athletes, or a mentor, we all know someone who appears to be great at everything they do in life.
That’s simply not the case. They have weaknesses too, just like you and me, they just conceal them better than the average person does. The truth is, no one is perfect and we all have weaknesses. It’s important to know and understand that we all have strengths as well. I’m better at certain things than you are, and you’re better at certain things than I am. Whether that be athletic ability, time management, public speaking, or a variety of other things, each of us has at least a handful of strengths that we are really, really good at.
So what do we do about our weaknesses? Do we work and work at them until they become strengths? Do we avoid them at all costs and focus on our strengths? There are a few options for us to handle our weaknesses, but it’s up to us to determine how we handle them. There’s no one right answer.
In his book “Principles” legendary investor Ray Dalio describes how he views handling weaknesses.
1. You can deny them (which is what most people do).
2. You can accept them and work at them in order to try to convert them into strengths (which might or might not work depending on your ability to change).
3. You can accept your weaknesses and find ways around them.
4. Or, you can change what you are going after.
Now it’s important to realize that you don’t have to treat all of your weaknesses in the same way. Depending on what the weakness is, how you handle it may be different than how you handle one of your other weaknesses. For example, a couple of my weaknesses are shyness and building things with my hands.
All throughout my life I have been very shy and introverted. When I was child, if I didn’t know you, I didn’t speak to you. Period. I was always the quietest kid in my class and never got in trouble for being loud or acting out of line in the classroom. However, since my time in undergraduate school, I’ve constantly been working to improve this about myself. I still honor the fact that I’m introverted, and I love that about myself, but I’ve constantly worked on opening up with people and being more approachable. Being a business owner, it’s extremely important to get out of my comfort zone and just talk to people. That’s still difficult for me to do at times, but I make myself do it because I know it’s important. I’ve been working on this weakness for almost a decade and it’s still not quite a strength in my opinion. So be prepared to spend a lot of time of certain weaknesses.
I’ve never been the handyman type of person. I didn’t build things growing up or spend time learning how to build things from my dad, I was never really interested in learning. To this day, I still regret that to some extent. For that reason, I’d really like to work at this weakness and convert it to a strength, but I know that would take hours and hours of time and energy for me personally, which I’m not willing to sacrifice at this stage in my life. Therefore, I opt for accepting it as a weakness and finding ways around it. For instance, asking for help, paying others to build something for me, or buying something that’s already built.
Since understanding some of my weakness and choosing one of the four options above to handle them, I’ve become more accepting of myself. I no longer feel the need to hide who I am, or pretend that I’m good at everything because I understand that nobody is good at everything. This has allowed me to be more productive with my days and push a lot of worry and stress out of my mind, which is something we could all benefit from.
I challenge you to do three things. First, dig deep and discover your weaknesses. Second, do some analysis and choose the best way to handle them. Finally, share your weakness with someone. You can tell them or show them, be vulnerable. It truly is a freeing feeling. As American poet Criss Jami said, “to share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”