When coaching my clients on their career clarity journey, I am often reminded just how much we tend to focus on trying to overcome our weaknesses and ‘flaws’. Meanwhile your greatest strengths, your special gifts lie dormant. Here’s how accepting your weaknesses will help you thrive in your career and in life.

Unfortunately, there still is a lot of emphasis on ‘fixing’ weaknesses in the workplace. To this day, the interview question “What is your greatest weakness and what are you doing to overcome it?” remains popular. It’s therefore not surprising that new career coaching clients are often hoping to finally rid themselves of their ‘flaws’ and overcome their weaknesses.

Don’t Fix Your Weaknesses, Focus on Your Strengths

Karen (not her real name) is no exception: “You could have knocked me over with a feather when you said that focusing on my strengths is more important. In my whole career life, I had always focused on the things I lack, assertiveness and conflict management skills. I thought we would focus on correcting these ‘flaws’. Instead the focus was on my strengths, such as problem solving and improving systems. It was very liberating, empowering and energizing. You helped me view myself in a whole new light.”

weaknesses-eagleThe more Karen recognized and used her strengths at work, the more they were being recognized and appreciated by her manager and her colleagues. Since she accepted her weaknesses, Karen hasn’t been asked to attend any more conflict resolution training sessions. Instead she has become the go-to person in the office when it comes to trouble-shooting complex problems. Karen now feels energized by her work and appreciated for her contribution.

What would be possible if you accepted your weaknesses? How much energy would be freed up? Where would you rather invest this precious energy? Take a moment to jot down your insights.

Reframe: Your Weaknesses May Be Strengths in Disguise

Sometimes what appears to be a weakness, turns out to be a great strength when seen in a different light. Maya For example, through coaching Maya (not her real name) realized that her detailed, thorough research style was one of her innate strengths.

Maya had been told she was too slow completing her work for most of her life. This had led her to believe her thoroughness was a weakness she needed to overcome.

weaknesses-rudolphOnce she became aware that her thoroughness applied in the right setting serves as a tremendous strength, she began to notice career opportunities with a strong research component. She is now happily employed as a paralegal specializing in case law.

How have you been labeled or judged in your life? In what ways might you be labelling or judging yourself now? What if your weaknesses or ‘flaws’ are some of your greatest strengths in disguise, just like Maya’s ‘slowness’?

If you’ve been judged as shy for example, you might have a strength for deep listening. In the event that you’ve been called an over-achiever, your strengths may be focus and follow-through. If people describe you as a dreamer, your imagination may indeed be your greatest strength.

Take a moment to notice what kind of strengths might be hidden by labels or judgements. Write them down and begin tapping into your hidden strengths!

Now that you’ve taken two powerful steps towards accepting your weaknesses and discovering your true strengths, take another powerful step and book your free career clarity consultation.