One of the things I learned most from Thomas Leonard was the idea of endorsing your own worst weakness. It’s a bit of what he’d call ‘tricky wisdom’. Can you take the thing that you’re most embarrassed and ashamed of in your business (and maybe life) and turn it into a strength, an assett and maybe even something to be relished.
I recently had a call with a client who’s target market was women. And she was fierce. I called her out on her fierceness. She admitted she was but was embarrassed by this.
‘It’s true! But it’s gotten me into so much trouble!’
‘What if,’ I asked her. ‘You were here to teach women how to be fierce.’
This had never occurred to her as a possibility – that her mess might just be her message.
And now, Thomas’ brilliant piece.
by Thomas Leonard
The human tendency is to either ignore, hide, deny, compensate for or strengthen our weaknesses. After all they ARE weaknesses, right? And weaknesses aren’t GOOD. Well, until now. The following Top 10 List makes the case for getting to love and honor your worst weaknesses instead of trying to improve them.
1. Your worst weakness may be the fastest way to accessing the best parts of yourself.
What IS your worst weakness? Are you a wimp? A liar? Insensitive? Impatient? Selfish? A dilettante? Or worse? Just for now, pick one. If you get to the ‘bottom’ of your worst weakness you WILL find something of incredible value.
For example, if you are a wimp, it may just be that you are a supersensitive person (which is a REAL gift). If you are a liar, you may be someone who is built for a much better life (one that is true to the lie) than you have now — hey reason enough to set higher goals! If you are insensitive, perhaps you are hanging out with the wrong people and it’s time to freshen up the Rolodex. And so forth.
Look for the opportunity in your worst weakness — not to strengthen it, but rather what it points to or tells you about what the next level of your life should probably include. Weaknesses then can really be great traffic cops — telling you where to go/focus on next.
2. What IF you began feeling proud of/accepting your worst weakness?
What IF you began feeling proud of/accepting your worst weakness?
Hopefully, the comments in #1 above will make weaknesses sound and feel, well, less ‘weak.’ It’s pretty common advice today to ‘accept’ your weaknesses instead of self-criticizing yourself for them, or blaming others. However, I am suggesting that you go a lot further than just acceptance. Because acceptance implies ‘giving up’ or ‘giving in.’
Endorsing implies more of a sense of being grateful and proud of your weaknesses. Wouldn’t that be an amazing evolutionary step for you to feel incredibly great about your worst weakness? And for folks to hear and feel this excitement on your part. Remember, the TRUTH will set you free; acceptance only heals. Big difference.
3. Focus on your strengths, but include your weaknesses and THEN delegate them.
I’ve met a lot of clients who get some sort of satisfaction from improving their weaknesses. For example, if they are really bad paper filers, they’ll take pride in setting up the world’s best filing system, only to have it dismantle itself within a month. All that effort for a short-term sense of ‘success.’
Better to focus on your strengths to the point that you can afford to pay others to handle your weaknesses. I’m really bad with paperwork, follow up phone calls, dealing with the public or paying bills, so my Virtual Assistant does ALL of that for me. Sure, I could MAKE myself do all this stuff (after all I AM a CPA), but at what peronsal, time, emotional, spiritual or financial or, most importantly, opportunity COST?
Part of being irresistibly attractive is to become super conductive. How can you become super conductive if you’re forcing yourself to overcome a weakness? I’m PROUD of the fact that I’m lousy with paperwork and dealing with the public. I used to be embarrassed/shamed by this. But to me, it’s now an asset/strength. Make that leap.
4. Educate people on what you don’t do well, until they fully understand.
Part of the process of ‘converting’ your weaknesses into strengths is to educate others on the fact of what your weaknesses are. In other words, be human. A great quote is: “I’d rather be hated for who I am than be adored for who I’m pretending to be.”
Of course, I’d prefer to be adored for my weaknesses, but that’s another top ten list! Seriously, here are the types of things to say to yourself or others about specific weaknesses: “I’m really bad about responding to this type of email from someone I don’t know. I need to pass on this.” “I’m terrible with secrets; I gossip. Don’t tell me anything you don’t want broadcast.” “Paperwork is the bane of my existence, which is why I invoice you (a client) by telephone.” “I don’t’ have the attention span to take notes of our coaching sessions, so you’ll need to keep track of your goals and progress.”
Get the point? I’m not saying to be arrogant with your weaknesses, but they really ARE strengths if you let them help youu tell the truth.
5. By knowing what you cannot do and cannot change, you are freed up to enjoy what you have that does work well.
By knowing what you cannot do and cannot change, you are freed up to enjoy what you have that does work well. Taking the path of least resistance is an important strategy in the Attraction OS. So is surrendering to what is so. “What resists, persists” and all that. The point here is to spend your energy where it flows and pulls you forward instead of getting your self esteem and success by overcoming limitations or natural preferences.
6. When you can endorse your worst weakness, you can accept the humanness of others.
This is key. When YOU get to the place where you see/recognize/accept/endorse your worst weakness as a strength, you’ll be able to respond to others in a similar way. You’ll take things less personally, and be less affected by the ‘humanness’ of others. And THAT will really make you attractive — to others as well as to yourself.
7. Your worst weakness can become a community-network builder for you.
This may sound a little unusual, but it’s really neat. What’s your worst weakness? How are you dealing with it? What have you learned? What other characteristics do you have as a result of having this weakness? Who else is in the same boat? The point here is that your weakness may be the admission ticket to a ‘club’ of others dealing with the same thing. And by getting to know others with a similar weakness, you can get some of the support you need to turn your weakness into a strength.
8. Accept/endorse your worst weakness by realizing how well it’s gotten you to THIS place in your life — and being grateful for that.
Give credit to your greatest weakness for how it’s helped you get to where you are today. Write down a list of 10 very specific ways it has helped you whether these were (positive or negative at the time) events, situations, conditions or relationships which were triggered, exacerbated or protected (you) by your weakness. I think you’ll find a pretty cool list!
9. Link your worst weakness to your biggest strength — see the relationship between them.
My biggest weakness is/was that I am WAYYYYYY too sensitive to other people’s energy, criticism, even their praise. It either disturbs, devastates or seduces me. I feel that I have no control over it. Yet, it’s also become my biggest strength: To honor the weakness, I’ve had to change my life, my priorities and how I work.
I’ve become even MORE sensitive in the process, but now I use this skill/gift to create cool stuff instead of trying to ‘overcome’ it. So, I think it’s fair to say that what you might call your biggest weakness is really your body’s or spirit’s way of saying, “Hey, there’s something really great down here, but you’d better make some changes before I’ll let you see what it is!”
10. Endorsing your worst weakness is just the beginning of the Attraction Principle; not the end.
You probably understand that this principle is not about feeling good about saying to someone, “Hey, this is my weakness; get over it!” This principle is not a license to be a jerk, nor is it an excuse not to evolve through your weakness. Because to truly endorse your weakness, you WILL need to become 100% responsible for how affects you, your life and others.
You will naturally want to evolve through your weakness instead of wearing it like a badge of honor. That’s why the process of endorsing your worst weakness is just the beginning of this principle, not the only step.
About the Author: Thomas Leonard (July 31, 1955 – February 11, 2003) was a major contributor to the development of personal coaching. In 1992 he founded Coach University, and the International Coach Federation in 1994. He was the founder concerned with establishment of the many other coaching companies & organizations