Vail Daily column: When strengths become weakness
August 20, 2014
Maybe you have heard about this philosophy before. Then again, maybe you have not, so it may come as a shock to your system or thought process. The philosophy is this: Sometimes and overdeveloped strength can actually become our biggest weakness or Achilles heel.
An example might be the professional sales person who has an unbelievable knack for building relationships. Our master sales person could be so strong on the relationship side that they become too emotionally attached to their customers and are never able to talk about price increases or apply the necessary professional pressure when faced with a problem or competitive situation. They may even revert to discounting prices as a way to secure future business and falsely believe they are preserving their friendship with the client.
WE SEE IT IN THE GYM
We can clearly see this same impact when we walk into any health club. Have you ever noticed the person in the gym with incredible strength and muscle development in their upper body, but their legs and cardiovascular system receive minimal or no attention at all?
They look top heavy and seem like their upper body is disproportionately out of alignment with their lower body. They get so focused on biceps, triceps, chest, back and shoulders that their weakness is obvious in lack of leg strength and physical appearance. And their endurance suffers as well.
MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY
It is good to have areas of focus and to capitalize on the things we are very good at. However, it is also easy to get caught in the trap of over-development in any one area that we lose touch with other options or new ways of thinking.
Our closed-mindedness prevents us from being open to a new paradigm or ideas from others as we believe we have all the answers or we are certain in our belief that our way is absolutely the right way, maybe even the only way.
OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP STRENGTHS
On the other hand, when we can be honest about areas where we lack expertise, knowledge or physical capability we have an opportunity to develop any area of weakness into a strength.
If our weakness is that we are not very good at listening, then we can start to practice listening skills such as taking notes, focusing the conversation on asking questions rather than always jumping in with our own answers.
If we excel at selling once we are in front of a client but struggle with prospecting and qualifying, we have to align ourselves with a coach or mentor who has perfected the art of finding new clients and making sure that the prospects are qualified to buy. We can learn from their strategies and techniques to increase our personal income.
GROWTH THROUGH FAILURE
Perhaps we love to cook, but our weakness is a limited style or a lack of experimenting with new dishes and varying ingredients. What if we took the time to learn more, watch other chefs prepare and cook, and what if we were open to failing when we try? It is in times of failure when we grow the most and can turn our weaknesses into strengths.
So whether it is in sales, in the gym, in the kitchen or in some other hobby or vocation, we can all recognize that we have strengths in certain areas and that we need to be cautious so that our powerful assets do not take away from what we are trying to accomplish, therefore becoming a weakness.
And conversely, recognize that the areas where we are deficient can become a strength as long as we find the right coach and mentor or apply the time to improve in some way, turning that weakness into another strength and asset in our armor as we pursue our goals and dreams.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR STRENGTHS
What about you? Do you have some overdeveloped strengths that are keeping you from achieving your overall goals in life? Do you perhaps have a weakness that you are looking forward to developing into a strength?
I would love to hear all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we can capitalize on our personal assets and develop other areas into strengths, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.