Saturday, December 24, 2011

What are my weaknesses? What drains my energy?

Well, last post we talked about finding your talents and strengths.  This time, the topic isn’t so bright and cheery, but it is essential.  Wasn’t that always the dreaded topic during an interview?  “Tell me about your weaknesses” they’d ask.  You would sit there like a deer in headlights having an internal argument in your head saying things like…”What?!? My weaknesses?  What do I say that won’t blow the interview?  Just pick something minor.  I don’t like confrontations….No he may think I can’t manage others, or would be difficult to work with.  Maybe I’ll say I’m a perfectionist…. No, No, he may think I have trouble letting go of work or meeting deadlines.”  So you end up saying, “nothing really comes to mind”, which we all know is not true.  We all have weaknesses, and the better you can identify them, the better off you will be.

You see, weaknesses are areas that we struggle with.  When you struggle, it drains your energy.  You are drained because you are not working within your strengths.  Now you will never be able to eliminate all of your weaknesses, but you may be able to identify them and compensate for them, or move yourself away from continually working in your weak area, and focus more on your strong areas.

Break out the notepad again.  Take a week (or two) and write down every time you find yourself in a situation where you feel out of your element, or not operating within your strengths (If you haven’t identified your strengths, see the last post titled “What are my Talents?  What are my strengths?”).  You will notice these situations because you feel absolutely drained and stressed when you encounter them.  Ask yourself:
  • When do I feel the most stress?
  • What am I doing when I feel this way?
  • Are the situations similar?
  • Do I feel more drained by the end of the activity than when I began?
Be honest with yourself.  Everyone has weaknesses.  Once you’ve identified your weaknesses make adjustments to your life to minimize your operating within them.  Find a way to compensate for them.  If you are not particularly well at proofreading documents, pair yourself up with someone who does it well.  You may be able to work a tradeoff of strength for strength.  Maybe you are strong in something that they are weak in.  You can’t be good at everything, but you can surround yourself with others to make up for your weaknesses.  Notice I never say focus on improving yourself in your weak areas.  You should be focusing your energies into excelling in your strengths.  Focusing on improving your weaknesses will only make you somewhat effective and mediocre in an area you care nothing about.  I say energies are best spent enhancing your strengths.

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