It's OK To Have Weaknesses

I had lunch today with a woman who wasn't familiar with the Strengths movement and she asked me what about it energized me so much.  There are so many things about the movement that I am passionate about.  When I think about it from my clients' perspective, however, I am stunned when I see them grasp - REALLY grasp - the idea that it's OK to have weaknesses. 

We are raised from the time we are little to be "well-rounded individuals" and to work hard on our weaknesses to make them strengths.  As those of us in the Strengths movement know, that is not possible.  Yet managers, leaders, teachers, parents and others who influence us in our lives teach us to put aside the things which we do well and, instead, work on the things we don't do well.  

I am very fortunate that when I was in school in the 70s and early 80s, my mom taught me to focus on reading, writing and "telling my stories" instead of fixating on becoming great at math (which was difficult for me to understand) and science (which I just didn't care for).  She helped me manage math and science and treated the areas in which I excelled (reading, writing and, well, talking) as my reward and pushed me to spend as much time of my rewards as possible. 

When I coach individuals and teams, the relief I see in their eyes, words and body language speaks volumes about how powerful this revelation is for people.  To accept - heck, EMBRACE, that we all have weaknesses is so powerful - as powerful as it is to understand and invest in our Strengths.  

As individuals, I help them leverage their Strengths to manage their weaknesses.  In teams, I teach them how to leverage the differences each person brings to fill the gap for others.  

Everyone has weaknesses.  More importantly, everyone has Strengths!  It is when we invest in those Strengths that magic happens.