We are more inclined to improve where we are weak.

If I asked you, what would you like to improve about yourself? Very likely you would jump into areas of your life where you struggle the most, areas that make you unhappy or things you are unsatisfied with. Be more persuasive, be more strategic, be better organized, be more thoughtful. You would look at your weaknesses. Wouldn’t you?

Especially when facing the unknown and uncertainty, our default thinking is to focus on our weaknesses – what we are bad at, what we still don’t know, why we are likely to fail.

New research by psychologists Andreas Steimer and André Mata show that people tend to believe that their weaknesses are more changeable and could be lost over time, but their strengths are there to stay.

Gallup, based on their research states that people believe that what comes easily must not be valuable, and what is challenging and takes work must be better.

Therefore, we think it is not that important to work on our strengths, and when it comes to improving our lives, we are more inclined to try to improve where we are weak since we are assuming that mastering these areas will provide the greatest growth. We take our talents and strengths for granted, and unfortunately, they stay overlooked.

However, this prevailing belief has its downsides

Focusing on improving your weaknesses will only bring mediocracy, and the path to get there is full of resistance, frustrations, fears, and procrastination.

Merely focusing on our weaknesses stresses our brains. Because of the toxic environment in our brain, we feel mental, physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained. If we allow us to be in that state of mind for prolonged periods of time, the results can be dire. Focusing on our weaknesses supports an inner voice in our head, saying you are not good enough, at least not yet.

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Your belief in yourself is a determining factor for your success. Therefore, the more you focus on your weakness, the more you are convinced you can’t do it.

Besides that, weaknesses don’t really develop in the same way as strengths.

Strengths develop infinitely, whereas weaknesses develop incrementally. No amount of development will turn a weakness into a legitimate strength.

For example, if you struggle when you have to present, describe and speak your ideas to others, with some practice, you can still learn how to perform a specific topic to your colleagues, but you might never find that sparkle and flourish on the stage as someone with innate communication talents.

Whereas, if you develop something where your innate talents lie, there is a kind of natural, fluid growth, combined with rapid learning and glimpses of excellence.

But nevertheless, knowing your weaknesses it is equally important as knowing your strengths

Probably, now you are asking yourself: “Ok, so if I decide to focus on developing my strengths, should I just ignore my weaknesses?”

Not at all.

Gallup defines weaknesses as anything that gets in the way of your success.

Your weaknesses hold you back from achieving many great things.

Every person, no matter how successful he or she is, has a counterproductive side as well. Everyone shows some thoughts and behaviors that could be detrimental in some situations or even in a specific area of life.

If we just ignore those tendencies, we put at stake our quality of life. Therefore, weaknesses should not be excused or ignored. Identifying your weaknesses is as important as identifying your strengths.  

Weaknesses are those skills, abilities, and behaviors that don’t come easy to you and cause you a lot of struggle while working on them.

Knowing your weaknesses allows you to understand how you can work around them.

Acknowledge and accept your weaknesses

The essential component of personal and professional growth is self-awareness. And self-awareness is incomplete without awareness or appreciation of weaknesses as well.

Gallup identifies four main issues of self-awareness that people commonly struggle with:

• Claiming strengths, they don’t possess.

• Failing to see their own weaknesses, or the impact those weaknesses have.

• Being defensive and self-protective around weaknesses and non-talents.

• Viewing their areas of weakness as more valuable or important to develop than expressing their areas of strength.

Therefore, the question is about accurate self-awareness. We all have to acknowledge that we are really good at some things, and pretty lousy at some other things which are really important. You can’t be good at everything.

So, you must be aware of your habits, behaviors, actions which undermine your daily performance, potential, and happiness. If you are having trouble identifying your weaknesses, consider situations when you felt insecure or disappointed in your performance.

Strengths-based coaching helps people become aware of their weaknesses and how to use their strengths to overcome them. Addressing and confronting weaknesses is a lot easier to handle when the spotlight is on a person’s strengths.

What type is your weakness

Did you ever wonder why others are handling, for example, business meetings with fluency and grace, while you’re struggling to create that finesse?

Perhaps you’ve wished that you too could breeze through the handshakes, business mingling, and meetings?

It probably feels like you just have your ways of doing things and that there is just a limit to the things you can do well. 

You possibly feel stuck with that, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Or is there a way you can manage around those ways and somehow do better?

First, when it comes to your shortcomings, you have to understand the difference between two main types of weaknesses:

1. Weaknesses due to lack of experience – these are the ones that occur because you are new to an activity, but are likely to improve with some practice, observation, guidance, training, and reflection.

2. Weaknesses that are the flipside to your strengths – these are the ones that occur in a situation in which you have to use a pattern that is not naturally you. A weakness forces you to depend on or try to develop a pattern that is not innate for you, and your performance never gets much better. Despite a lot of effort, they can turn in the mediocre result. 

For example, you excel when it comes to producing ideas, but struggle following a narrow framework, such as strict processes and guidelines; chances are you’d be struggling big time in such a role, jeopardizing your innovation talents, because of your effort put in developing your flipside strengths.

There is no real investment in developing of fixing your weaknesses that are the flipside to your strengths. Instead, it would be best if you managed them.

Can you now see the difference between developing or managing your weakness?