On letting go of weaknesses

We tend not to see our own strengths because those skills come to us easily, whether developing the skill was easy or not.

Sometimes, we don’t see our strengths because they’ve been downplayed by others over time and we’ve taken to believing the naysayers.

This leads to us downplaying our skills while overemphasizing/coveting others’ skills and/or us judging and blaming other people for not being able to do what we can do.

Neither of those options is ideal.

My challenge for you is to do the following:

First, list your strengths. What are you good at? No judgement. It’s not a resume, and you don’t have to share the list with anyone else if you don’t want to. Include soft skills. Organizing. Connecting people. Befriending dogs. Picking out colors. Making cute food for your kid. It’s not a resume.

If you’re not sure what your strengths are, ask a couple of close friends or solid colleagues, people who know you well and are safe. If you go this route, don’t dismiss their answers!

Second, list your weaknesses. Again, if you’re not sure, ask around. You will have a harder time getting people to answer this one than the other one.

Third, sort your weaknesses into two piles: 1- I want this skill and I’m willing to do the work to acquire this skill and; 2- I want this skill but I’m not going to do the work.

Once you know your strengths, you can capitalize on them. Perhaps shift some things around in your life to be working with your strengths more often.

Once you know which weaknesses you’re not interested in cultivating, you can let go of feeling envious or otherwise bad about not having them. They’d be cool to have, but you don’t, and it’s OK. You probably have a bunch of projects that you started 5/10/20 years ago but never finished on this list. (P.S. You can get rid of those. You’re not going to finish them. Keeping them is taking energy—out of sight but not entirely out of mind.)

Once you know which weaknesses you’re willing to strengthen, find a path to doing that. This varies wildly, based on what you’re trying to learn, where you’re located, how much free time and free money you have, etc. 

And if you have no weaknesses that you have time/energy/desire to work on right now, that’s OK too. We don’t always have to be a work in progress. This exercise still gives you the opportunity to feel more secure in your strengths and start to let go of the shame in your weaknesses.

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