We all have weaknesses. If we can recognise what they are and figure out how to address them, they can be a huge source of strength and self-development. If you were asked to describe yourself in 30 seconds, you would probably focus on the most favourable aspects of your personality – those that show you in your best light and highlight your strengths rather than your weaknesses. You probably wouldn’t launch into your poor timekeeping or the fact that you can be a bit disorganised from time to time. That’s because our natural instinct as human beings is to be liked and accepted among others in our social circle, and therefore by portraying ourselves to others in a positive light we become more acceptable and likeable. On top of this, there’s a certain degree of ego and competitive nature inherent in us all that leads to inflating our strengths and shout about our successes.
This focus on promoting our positive side is ingrained in our culture and society; if you look at the feedback you’ve received over your lifetime, a large amount will be more positive than negative, focusing on strengths and assets. There are a number reasons for this; firstly, positive, constructive feedback is designed to encourage you to learn and grow as it’s much more motivational than negative feedback. Secondly, the person or people giving you feedback may brush your weaknesses under the carpet for a nicer conversation and to avoid confrontation. In corporate environments, it can seem that even the very word “weakness” has a mystical ‘Lord Voldemort’ property and should at all times be referred to not by name but rather as a ‘development area’. Thirdly, you may well be adept at compensating for, or even hiding, your weaknesses, so much so that the person giving you feedback simply doesn’t see the need to raise them as significant points for discussion.
Whilst we might not like to shout about our less attractive quirks and traits, they are nevertheless part of us. We all have them, and, after all, no individual is perfect or without fault. In fact, weaknesses are just as crucial in contributing to our individual make-up as our strengths. Every strength has its mirror image, a side that could be viewed negatively, a so-called shadow side. For example, being highly structured in your approach could be seen as inflexible; being a high achiever could mean that you fear failure. And so on. To truly develop a well-rounded sense of ‘you’, you need to know and understand the whole of you – not just the edited highlights. It’s important to accept and acknowledge that you have areas you can work on, to be proactive rather than defensive in addressing how you can work on improving yourself. And to realise that weaknesses can be a huge source of strength. To quote Michael Jordan, ‘If you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength’.
To successfully articulate your strengths and weaknesses you need to be ready with examples of how you’ve successfully recognised and worked on your development areas. The next hurdle is to achieve this without sounding clichéd (“My biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist!”) or egotistical (“My level of success can be intimidating for others”). The aim is to convert weaknesses into strengths but also to maintain authenticity and an element of humility. Your examples need context and should demonstrate how you have overcome an area of challenge, and the resulting impact, showcasing your ability to adapt and grow as a person – and an advanced level of self-awareness.
With FindMyWhy, we have created a completely free product that will enable you to confidently articulate your strengths and weaknesses, providing you with all the tools to not just identify, but also to contextualise your own assets and areas for improvement. By completing FindMyWhy, you will become an expert on yourself, on your unique individual motivators and values, in addition to how you are perceived by others, providing invaluable insight to help you in your career journey and in navigating your personal life. FindMyWhy provides you with the insight you need for complete self-awareness; resulting not only in the knowledge to accurately understand and articulate your potential weaknesses, but also practical tips and tools for turning these into positives.
Starting as an online questionnaire, FindMyWhy produces detailed reports that are tailored to you as an individual, offering in-depth analysis to guide your decision making. Everything is completely free of charge, from the completion of the questionnaire through to accessing the extensive resources and support packs which supplement your personal report. If you are thinking of making a career change, or going for that dream role, FindMyWhy will give you vital information to help you nail that interview, offering deep understanding of your own strengths and limitations and enabling you to pre-empt some of those more challenging interview questions about how you work to overcome your weaknesses.
You can have a look at testimonials from those who have tried it and loved it on our website. You can also view sample reports and find out more about taking that first step to finding your true purpose in your personal and professional lives. www.findmywhy.com