Being self-aware is one of the main keys for success and it affects every single aspect of our lives. Probably the first thing that comes to mind is how our strengths and weaknesses play a part in our professional or work lives. It simply can’t be limited to this single area.
Knowing what you are very good at and realizing where you may fall short is critical in relationships, family life, parenting and even in the social arena. For some, it’s easy to point out the good and for others, focusing on the flaws is almost a reflex.
How Do We Rate?
We are conditioned to compare ourselves to our surroundings or fellow human beings in similar circumstances. Not just to see if we measure up, but also as a standard that we are nailing life or failing at life.
As children, we are pushed to do better. We are rewarded for winning; there are no rewards for failing, only consequences. We carry this mindset into adulthood and continue believing if we aren’t the best, we at least be better than the rest.
And for many of us, this way of living is exhausting and impossible to keep up with for the long-haul. It’s time we stop the madness and focus on how to make our strengths and weakness work for us, instead of against us. Yes, that’s right. Our weaknesses can work for us.
Know Your Strengths
Your strengths have a great deal to do with your confidence. Remember, we are talking about all aspects of life here, not just vocationally. If you are a structured person who thrives on rules and order, you’re probably also great at organizing parties and social gatherings.
It’s probably a cake walk for you to follow through with the many scheduled events involved in parenting, like doctor’s appointments and parent-teacher conferences.
Strengths aren’t things we are good at, but also things we enjoy. Perhaps you have the ability to look at a quilt and then recreate the pattern in your head without much of a fuss. That’s basically like rocket science to a non-crafty person who needs a defined pattern with step-by-step instructions.
Know Your Weaknesses
We all have them. And that’s okay. Similar to our strengths, our weaknesses also have a great deal to do with self-confidence. What’s more, weaknesses are nothing to be ashamed of. Here’s why it’s important to be aware of them: So you know when to say “no”.
The most creative person you know might be horrible at math. It would behoove that person to pass on requests requiring in-depth mathematical skills. Don’t volunteer to bake cakes for a luncheon if you stink at baking and refrain from babysitting if you don’t really like kids.
Completely avoiding our weaknesses though isn’t always the best answer, as there’s no room for personal growth and development. However, taking on an entire project based on a known weakness probably isn’t the best way to expand horizons.
Why They are Both Important
Your strengths move you closer to your goals. Your strengths create better bonds with people and help develop more meaningful relationships. Your strengths can put you on the fast-track to career advancement. Being familiar with all the things are you good at is a plus, and it helps make better decisions and creates more opportunity for successes.
Knowing your weaknesses though, is equally, if not more important. When you are real with yourself on areas you aren’t very strong in, you’re more likely to find workaround ways to get achieve your goals.
In college, passing a speech class is sometimes necessary to fulfill degree requirements. For many of us, giving speeches isn’t exactly a piece of cake. In fact, it’s down right terrifying to a great deal of people. Accepting this as a weakness allows us the ability to be a little more creative.
Perhaps using a visual aid is the key. Giving a handout to the audience is a great way to take the focus off the speaker and direct attention to a piece of paper. When a weakness rears it’s ugly head, find another route before completely giving up.
Everyone has both good and not so good attributes. And believe it or not, both can be advantageous. We have to acknowledge both sides though and allow both sides to work for us.
This happens when we stop looking at weaknesses as something that needs to be fixed and instead challenge ourselves to find alternatives using our strengths.