Your willingness to turn your weaknesses into strengths can make all the difference as you strive to achieve important goals.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Your ability to identify and strengthen your weakness shows how much you want to improve.
Awareness is the first step to any change, therefore you have to know what strengths and weaknesses mean.
What Are Strengths?
Strengths are things, which can include activities, tasks, habits or behaviours, you do well, based on a standard you have set yourself or set by others.
These are things you have worked on getting better at, where you have reached a level of competence you are satisfied with, that can support you in meeting your objectives.
Some people have natural abilities in certain areas or in things they do, that they can hone to further improve.
What Are Weaknesses?
Weaknesses are usually the opposite of strengths. They are things you know you don’t do as well as you would like, which affects your ability to reach your objectives.
Weaknesses usually become known when you are attempting to do something you are not familiar or comfortable with, to get an outcome you want.
As you turn your weaknesses into strengths, your ability to get the outcomes you want will improve.
A weakness I identified early in my career was speaking in front of people. As I am an introvert, the thought of giving presentations or conducting training programs often made me anxious.
I knew to have a successful career or business, I had to improve my speaking skills. Over a ten-year period, I worked on turning that weakness into a new strength. I attended speaking training programs, personal development programs, read books and looked for opportunities to speak in front of audiences, so I could practice what I was learning.
Slowly, over time, my level of comfort speaking to audiences improved. Even though I still get nervous whenever I am speaking in front of an audience, over a decade and a half later, the experience is not as scary as before. I am much calmer and can focus my energy on how I can best serve the audience I am speaking to.
5 Steps to Turn Your Weaknesses into Strengths
It is unnecessary to turn all your weaknesses into strengths because it will be exhausting and may not give you the benefits you are hoping to get. A better approach is to be more intentional and focus your efforts based on what you want to achieve.
Here are five steps you can take to turn your weaknesses into strengths so you can continually develop yourself and achieve your objectives.
- Identify the weakness you want to strengthen. You can do that by evaluating the cost of not being able to do something to achieve what you want. If you know there are things you can improve to get to your goals faster, then they are what you should focus on developing.
- Focus on the opposite of the weakness you have identified. You need to define what competent will look and feel like if your weaknesses becomes strengths. How will you know if a weakness has become a strength? What will be happening and what will you be able to do well?
- Create a skill development plan. You strengthen something through repetition. This is why repetition is often considered the “mother of skill.” The more you do something, the more confidence you will have in your ability to do it. Having a skill development plan will help you identify what to focus on and keep you on track.
- Find a mentor who can help shorten your learning curve. Improving something on your own is challenging, mentally and emotionally. A mentor or accountability partner can fast-track your success, which means you will not waste energy on things unnecessary for you to succeed.
- Continually practice what you are learning. Something can only become a strength if you do it often. Learning something and not practicing it will not give you the opportunity to gain valuable feedback. Having a mindset to serve others can help as you focus on honing your skills.
A Caution About Focusing Only on Strengths
There is a common misconception that you should focus on your strengths and only do things you are good at. Having strengths is important for your self-confidence and your ability to produce high-quality results.
The problem is, if you are only focusing on your strengths, you will reach a point where your strengths will become your comfort zone. If you are always in your comfort zone, you are not growing and developing yourself.
The real purpose for turning your weaknesses into strengths is for you to grow and develop more of your potential. If you continue to always operate from your strengths, you will reduce your ability to challenge yourself to learn new things.
As you continue to turn your weaknesses into strengths, you will increase your self-confidence, gain new knowledge and experience, and diversify your skills. That will support you in achieving the results you want.
If you don’t strengthen your weaknesses, you will not give yourself the opportunity to create new experiences and achieve the results you want.
If you ever wonder if you should turn a weakness into a strength, a question you can ask is, “Will learning or developing this area contribute to my long-term success?” If the answer is yes, then make it a focus.
Action Step: Identify one weakness you would like to turn into a strength. Describe what it will look and feel like if you were competent in it. Create a skill development plan so you can make it a new strength.
Question: What are other things you can do to turn your weaknesses into strengths?