Have You Become a Pawn in Your Own Game?
by Pamina Mullins
Do you think playing to and publicizing your strengths is a good thing? Of course—you’d have to be nuts not to!
And is playing down and keeping your weaknesses and fears under wraps a good thing? Well, yes…..and no.
Besides success is for the strong, right?
Err….wrong! Truly successful people let their strengths lead—but they are ultra aware of their weaknesses, and how best to manage them. Why? Because it’s our weaknesses that trip us up every time, not our strengths. If we’re too obsessively focused on our strengths, those weaknesses (just like guerilla warfare) sneak up on us, and bring us to our knees.
Think about it.
What causes you the most stress; your abilities—or your inabilities? And by avoiding your inabilities; by keeping them a secret in the hope that no one will notice, you are stunting your potential, and limiting the parameters of your life. You know those I can’t do that because…..moments?
When you’re being stalked by your weaknesses, you have to carefully plan your life within these limits.
If you don’t, you risk failing and making a fool of yourself. So you create self sabotaging habits. You avoid certain people, situations and experiences. You dodge that promotion. You delay launching a business of your own. You keep an exciting and challenging relationship at arms length. You procrastinate, make excuses and lie to support your need not to trespass into high risk territory. And you blame external forces or other people for the fact that you are keeping yourself stuck.
How do I know this? I’ve done it!
When you look your weaknesses in the eye; say I see you, and you’re not going to limit me or trip me up any more—the self sabotage game is over.
Living in fear of your weaknesses stops you getting close to people, forming deep, meaningful connections; being honest with yourself and others, or asking for help. It stops you exploring, learning, growing and getting stronger. It prevents you from asking for what you need or expressing an honest opinion.
So what can you do about this—just let it all hang out, bleed all over everyone and seek sympathy? No! Choose who you explore your weaknesses with. Choose when and where.
Be selective about a safe, supportive and productive environment.
This is where coaching comes into its own. This is the alchemy zone, where weaknesses have the potential to be forged into strength, insights and personal empowerment.
I’ve lost count of the number of powerful (and momentarily traumatic) breakthroughs I’ve been privileged to facilitate when people finally face the fears that have terrorized and stunted them for far too long.
Confronting your weaknesses in this way gives them value and meaning.
It allows you to use them as leverage. You get them into perspective and you realize that everyone has them; that your strengths compliment someone else’s weaknesses and their strengths compliment yours. You realize you are far from alone, and that each one of us is like a piece of a puzzle—slotting together perfectly with others unique strengths and weakness, to build a powerful team.
Change your negative perception of personal weaknesses. View them instead as:
• Opportunities for empowerment and expansion
• Portals to wisdom, empathy and rapport
There is an awesome amount of mileage to be gained from admitting that you aren’t perfect; that you’re a work in progress, just like everyone else on the planet. Own up to the reality that you will disappoint some people and that they will disappoint you—and that’s okay. Get comfortable with the fact that life is a mystery and that nobody has all the answers. Nobody is bulletproof.
Nobody knows it all or is 100% strong all the time.
Embracing and building an intimate relationship with your weaknesses allows you to forgive your flaws, and other people’s. It puts you in a position of power. It saves mountains of time and energy. It breeds bravery. Have the courage to say what you see, is what you get; I am learning and getting better each day! Getting courageous enough to embrace ALL that you are, is the place of ultimate power.
Have you had enough of being pursued by your weaknesses? Do you really want to change this now?
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