Advertising
Advertising

Published on February 17, 2020

7 Steps to Turn Your Weaknesses into Strengths

7 Steps to Turn Your Weaknesses into Strengths

When I first thought about turning weakness into strength, I thought about the words people use when they realize that their weaknesses are destroying their happiness and success. Then, I thought about new clients and unwilling team members who are dragged along on a team day with me thinking “What kind of hell is this?”

They firmly believe that life/and or work are just like that and it’s circumstances that can’t be changed; “Out of your control”.

Through the magic of coaching, I’ve learned that our weaknesses hide what we really need to learn.

So what better way to turning weakness into strength is to you get what you want in life. Using case studies and techniques that I know have helped. Clients who said things like:

  • Why do I never learn?
  • My shyness is holding me back!
  • I never finish my to do list!
  • Why do I spend too much time on social media?
  • Why am I such a people please?
  • Why don’t I just go for it?
  • Why am I so scared all the time?
  • Why do I never stand up for myself?
  • Why does what I want never feel important enough to get on with?

This is your chance to turning weakness into strength of yours, write it down and coach yourself out of weakness to gain a strength.

1. Find Your Weakness

turning weakness into strength

    To begin, never stop yourself from finding your weaknesses and really experiencing them. If you are a client of mine, you’d know I make my clients really feel the pain of the weakness that they feel is standing in the way of their happiness, goals, success and any other dream they’d like to be a reality.

    As mean as it sounds to make your clients suffer, it’s an imperative part of the process of turning weakness into strength that ensures you see results.

    Therefore, start by feeling the pain from your failures and that voice that tells you it will never happen and you aren’t good enough. Don’t hide from the negative. Don’t hide from the bad stuff in your life.

    This part of a coaching session can take an hour so that a client properly gets to brain dump every single thought in front of us. So, don’t shy away from any thought, just write it down.

    2. Dig Deeper

    The first level of pain is not usually enough to turning weakness into strength.

    Usually we talk about the shallower level of pain because like a beast in the corner of the room we are keen to not acknowledge it and accept that life as we know it is about to end.

    Working with a coach ensures you don’t wallow there, you find the true pain and own it but don’t experience it again and again and again. Here is a couple of example of the first 2 steps so you can see them in action. I’d like to share a story of my coaching client, Tom, not his real name.

    Advertising

    Tom told me how he was not that clever, and everyone always overlooked him at work and at home. Until recently, it had suited his life but now with plans to further his career and travel he wanted a decent career to pay for it all. He told me he looked around the office and everyone had had a promotion except him. Someone who’d started 1 year ago was already telling him what to do!

    It grated, it infuriated him and he felt invisible and unappreciated. In his session, Tom put it down to not being that clever. He explored what that had meant to him all his life and how this weakness had impacted on him and his success and obviously it hurt, but that was only step 1, in step 2 I asked him “Telling me all this, how does it feel now?”

    He said he felt foolish and like he had wasted years. It was like watching someone get sucker punched in the stomach. He stopped talking and half smiled and half grimaced and I could see he’s eyes had gone glassy.

    In a normal conversation, you would reach across the table and say something reassuring, wouldn’t you? As hard as that is as a coach, that’s not your job to have any opinion good or bad. The non-judgmental nature of coaching helps to ensure someone feels safe to say anything.[1] And that’s what Tom did.

    We explored the true issue that made him feel stupid, and we looked at what evidence he had to prove that he was stupid, obviously there was none.

    And next…

    3. Explore Your Beliefs

    Step 3 is where you explore that person’s beliefs. It’s hard to accept that what we believe to be fact is often only opinion and a viewpoint. By breaking down a perceived fact into an opinion, then that person can learn that there could potentially be a new way of thinking, reacting and acting to get better results.

    For Tom, we did this by looking at what proof he had that he was stupid. I tend to joke with my clients and so I jested “So Tom, how does someone so stupid get to work for X, did they feel sorry for you?”

    As mean as that question sounds, it’s said in a jokey way and Tom went from bordering on breaking down to laughing.

    It’s not easy being confronted with a new truth. Tom went on to tell me about how in actual fact, he had been headhunted. He had been shocked when it had happened. He hadn’t been in the workplace for long and was not expecting it. This brought evidence to the front of his mind that he didn’t even have any proof that could back it up that he was stupid!

    turning weakness into strength

      If you are looking to get rid of weaknesses in your life, and start turning weakness into strength, look for the evidence that in every aspect of your life that you respond/act/think in the way that you think is your weakness.[2] However big your weakness, there will be areas of your life where that weakness doesn’t exist.

      Coaching can go in many different directions according to what comes up, so here we will explore some strategies that may help you move forward and address your weaknesses. Ideal for when you get stuck!

      Advertising

      A great strategy is to look for that weakness and find out where it doesn’t exist. Then you can ask questions to understand how it can be so different in this area of your life to that one. I’ve been lucky enough to be working with an amazing team of people for 3 years now and as an organisation they felt they were absolutely rubbish at communication. It came up time and time again:

      • We get far too many emails – if you answered them all you’d never get any work done.
      • No one can ever do anything around here without a meeting, sub meeting and half a dozen long documents being copied around the place for days.
      • I’m not even in that department and I’m constantly dragged into discussions and meetings.
      • I could finish work at a decent hour if I didn’t have so many pointless emals to wade through.
      • Everyone is so worried about making a decision you get copied in on everything!

      Allowing everyone in a team (even if that’s 220 team members in one big 2 hour coaching session!) to rant and share their views is important, you need a few ground rules:

      • No judgement on anyone’s view.
      • No view is wrong.
      • No idea is wrong.
      • No such thing as a silly question.
      • And as I like to say like Vegas – what happens in this room, stays in this room – with less cocktails, dancing girls and one armed bandits – obviously!

      (These rules apply to coaching yourself too!)

      Once everyone was allowed to go through step 1 and get into step 2. We started to see for this large team that in actual fact, their ability to be so honest had helped them be the country’s leading organization because their customers were always at the forefront of their mind.

      Someone flippantly had shouted out (you can hide in a crowd of 220!) “Shame they don’t treat the staff as well as the customers!”

      Bingo!

      This flippant comment led to us exploring the fact that their biggest weakness was actually their strength. We looked at what enabled them to be leaders in customer communications and wrote it all down. Looking at where they excelled enabled them to return to their weaknesses and understand what strategies and tools, they already knew that could help them change and achieve more.

      4. Explore Lots of Possibilities

      Never scrimp on this step of turning weakness into strength. People fail at coaching themselves and others when they try to race this part of the process. Our natural instinct as human is to jump to the solution. 1 + 1 =…. you’ve already answered it haven’t you?

      To really create solutions, you need to create a long list of possibilities. And in my experience, it’s usually a lot simpler than you realize.

      Let’s be honest, if life feels tough and you feel like your weaknesses are holding you back and have been for years, then it stands to reason that you are going to assume it’s going to be tough to change? Overthinking is a big thing that stands in the way of finding solutions. So, don’t over think, write every idea (however silly or pointless down.)

      5. Examine Your Weakness

      Let’s get personal, I was told growing up that I was too sensitive. It was only through my own personal development that my mindset to this changed. So, look around you.

      Do you really have a weakness or is it a strength that others don’t like, appreciate or feel threatened by?

      I’ve always been sensitive and my family would say “Oh, Mandie, you take things so personally.” I’ve learnt (not until I was in my late 20’s!) that this was a good thing not a bad.

      Advertising

      My ability to feel what other people are experiencing means I am far more emphatic than most people and I’ve learned to hone my sensitivity to a new level, which means I can pick up on micro expressions and really help people on a level that most miss.[3]

      My ability to be good at my job as a coach is because I’m very sensitive. I am turning weakness into strength. Ask yourself if this is a weakness or a strength hiding in plain site?

      6. Find Your Voice

      Another client of mine is Kate, not her real name. Kate’s case is a good example of turning weakness into strength. Kate worked for a very large organization and was by no means senior. We had a team day with over 50 members of the company. The senior staff had invited employees like Kate so that they could experience strategy sessions and look forward in their career.

      At the time, Kate described herself as painfully shy. She felt it would impact on her career as it had her whole life. Through the coaching process, Kate found her voice.

      Laying down the ground rules meant she couldn’t be wrong. We fear speaking up or acting when we fear the outcome. If you think you’re shy and understand what that means to your life and success, you will do everything to stay safe, won’t you?

      Kate sat at the back listening and saying nothing. As the session went on, more and more ideas and weaknesses were added to our list of things to explore in our day. The senior staff weren’t breaking down their barriers to honesty – I felt strongly like they were more interested in proving they were right rather than in learning how to achieve more, and overcome their personal and professional weaknesses.

      Kate stopped that with one sentence. Kate asked “If that’s the case, why have you said that you feel you are expected to work at the weekends? Surely if this was working, we would all have guilt free weekends?”

      Where she gained the strength to speak up, no one seemed to know; but with that question, everyone became more honest. She started turning weakness into strength. Afterwards, Kate said she realized she just couldn’t tolerate everyone not dealing with the real issues. And in that one question, the whole day changed.

      Find what truly motivates you and however big your fear you will override it.

      Learn more about what really motivates you in this article: How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

      Being the “Shy one” worked in Kate’s favor because no one would expect her to speak up. So when she did, everyone listened!

      turning weakness into strength

        Don’t be so quick to assume what you see as a weakness. It is actually a hidden strength you’ve just not flexed the muscles on!

        Advertising

        As you’ve seen with Kate and Tom, the coaching process helped them believe in themselves and start to learn to trust that they were enough.

        So, before you look to change, ask yourself how confident you feel? Check your confidence level here.

        If you don’t believe you can start turning weakness into strength, how likely are you to achieve?

        The more I coach, the more I think social media should come with a health warning. — Mandie Holgate

        Too many people go online and assume that what they see is the full story. We hunt out approval and likes when we should be looking to find that in ourselves.

        If you feel you lack something and have weaknesses, look to how social media, the press or even your choice of box sets make you feel:

        • Do they make you feel empowered and ready for anything?
        • Do they make you feel inadequate?
        • Do you compare yourself to others and think I’m not like that! Am I not good enough?

        Trying to be someone else is never going to work in turning weakness into strength. you need to admit that “This is me”. If you can’t that’s your first weakness to tackle.

        7. Stop Procrastinating

        The last thing I do with every client is look for the excuses; the reasons why it won’t happen, the obstacles that they’ve not considered.

        If you know you are someone that can create a billion excuses why it didn’t’ happen and none of it was your fault, work on your accountatbility:

        • Who will you tell you are taking this action too?
        • Who will you report back to? Imaginary bosses are great – ask yourself “If I had a boss, would they be happy with my progress?”

        turning weakness into strength

          Final Thoughts

          Life is busier than ever; so again, we can blame the kids, partner, boss dog, deadliness, traffic, even illness on why we didn’t take action on our weaknesses. But if you go back to the start of the coaching and really feel your pain, you will do everything in your power to stay away from it:

          • Do you need to block time out in your diary?
          • Do you need to write your goal on your bedroom wall?
          • Do you need to set an alarm?
          • Do you need an app?
          • What would ensure you stay focused on the end result you want moving forward?

          And remember, hidden in every weakness is a strength, as Christine Szymanksi said,

          “Acceptance of your weaknesses along your life path you will stumble upon your strengths.”

          I would say the biggest weakness that any of us must face first is our fear to get started. If you take that leap of faith and follow these steps, there’s no reason why you can’t turn your weaknesses into true power that leads to the results in life you want. What have you got to lose?

          More Tips on Fighting Fears

          Featured photo credit: Lubo Minar via unsplash.com

          Reference

          More by this author

          Mandie Holgate

          International Coach, Best Selling Author & Speaker inspiring people around the world to success.

          How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve Success Motion vs Action: Which One Is More Important for Success? Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective? How to Make a Positive Change for a Fulfilling Life How to Move Forward When You’re Stuck in a Rut

          Trending in Mental Strength

          1 How to Cure Depression (Professional Advice from a Therapist) 2 5 Reasons Why Keeping a Mood Journal Is Good For Your Mental Health 3 3 Mindfulness Techniques for Living in the Present Moment 4 5 Ways Mindful Breathing Calms Your Nerves 5 How to Protect Your Mental Health in Tough Times

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on December 4, 2020

          How to Cure Depression (Professional Advice from a Therapist)

          How to Cure Depression (Professional Advice from a Therapist)

          Did you know that most people on anti-depressants are depressed again a year later? And between 2005 and 2015, the number of people living with depression worldwide increased by a staggering 18.4%[1].

          Even though people are taking more antidepressants than ever, depression is still increasing. It’s paradoxical to think that the estimated 264 million people in the world living with depression are actually together in feeling alone and hopeless[2].

          What the pharmaceutical companies seem to make consumers think is that antidepressants cure a chemical imbalance in their brains. But if that were true, why aren’t we seeing depression disappear? That’s not to say antidepressants don’t reduce the impact of symptoms and act as a bridge to effectively address the underlying problems, but relying on them to “cure” depression is not the answer.

          We know this.

          So how to cure depression?

          Johann Hari, a journalist and author challenging what we know about mental health, poses that depression and anxiety arise because our basic needs aren’t being met. He challenges the chemical imbalance argument and argues that masking the symptoms is not the way to cure it.

          Overcoming depression starts by understanding that it’s not just a diagnosis but a signal that something bigger needs attention, that something is missing or off-balance. And just as we would do for a car or a computer, we need to look inside to find out what’s causing that flashing red light.

          What Causes Depression?

          Before we dive in, it’s crucial that you know these three things first if you’re suffering from depression:

          Advertising

          1. You’re not broken.
          2. You can overcome it.
          3.  It’s probably a natural reaction to the environment you’re in and/or to the events that you’ve been through in your life.

          It could be that you’re in an environment that is lacking basic needs such as connection, meaning, and passion, or that you’re holding irrational negative beliefs about yourself based on childhood or traumatic experiences, but one thing is for sure: whatever you’re feeling is real[3].

          Whilst this article is not an exhaustive attempt to address all possible causes, we’ll talk about some of the most common causes of depression, namely the lack of meaningful connections and the negative beliefs that we hold from our past.

           

          A Lack of Meaningful Connections

          One of the most basic human needs is the primal need to feel connected, to be a part of something.

          Our ancestral hunter-gatherers needed to be connected as part of a tribe in order to survive. Being rejected meant being exposed to the predators looking for weaklings, people who were alone and vulnerable.

          Yes, times have changed, and we’re no longer expecting to be eaten alive in the middle of a city, but we still have that same need for a tribe, to have connection. The great irony is that we’re more able now to “connect” to humans all over the world, but we’re also lonelier than ever. We’re not getting as many real, meaningful connections.

          The predators we face now are inside our own heads when we’re sitting alone in our flat feeling hopeless, sad, or (worst of all) feeling nothing. The predator is the belief that death is a way out, a way to ease the nothingness.

          This is just one cause, but it’s a big one.

          Advertising

          This isn’t about just talking to or being in the presence of others. You can feel alone in a crowd, and you can feel alone in a marriage. It’s not the physical aspect but the other bit that we get when we form a tribe: the meaning and satisfaction we feel when we share things with others. When we contribute some part of ourselves and improve some part of someone’s something, that’s when we feel a real connection.

          In the working environments we’ve created for ourselves, people are working long hours with little to no connection or fulfillment. Our ancestors never had to deal with this type of environment, and it’s something which we need to be acutely aware of so that we can recognize and respond to the signals when we see them.

          Professor Caccioppo, previously a psychologist at the University of Chicago and an expert in loneliness stated that:

          “The purpose of loneliness is like the purpose of hunger. Hunger takes care of your physical body. Loneliness takes care of your social body, which you also need to survive and prosper. We’re a social species.”[4]

          We need these feelings to tell us something is off-balance. Feeling lonely and disconnected means you’re not getting enough of the human connection you need, so you need to change your approach. But if you don’t know that these feelings are signals, and you don’t take the right approach, it’s easy to just give up and say “I’ll never be able to solve this, I’m useless.”

          Your subconscious mind believes the things you tell it, and if you’re telling it just how worthless you are, how useless and how unlovable you are, then there’s no wonder you’re feeling worthless, useless, and unlovable. This is another cause of depression: the scripts we tell ourselves.

          Your Childhood Scripts

          “I’ve always lived with depression, it’s just the way I am.”

          Believing that you’re stuck or that you were born with depression is a major block stopping you from overcoming depression. If you’re replaying the same negative scripts over and over, scripts you’ve written for yourself and scripts that others have written for you, then it’s not surprising that your head isn’t an easy place in which to live.

          Advertising

          Not feeling like you’re enough. Not feeling like you deserve to be happy. Feeling like you’re a lost cause.

          All of these types of beliefs are things learned over the course of a life, most likely when you were young. Your logical mind didn’t develop until your early teens, so when someone told you that you weren’t good enough or made you feel alone, different or weird, then your emotional brain took that to be the truth about you. But sometimes as adults, we need to revisit the stuff we let in when we were kids because it’s almost always irrational and illogical.

          It’s absolutely not your fault that you have them, but it is your responsibility to find and remove them.

          A client of mine believed that he couldn’t change because it was the way he’d always been. When we overcame that belief, the next one was that he didn’t believe that what he did was ever good enough. He tried to fit into a career that he thought he needed to, and when he couldn’t face it anymore, he told himself he just wasn’t good enough.

          He didn’t contemplate that he was just trying to be someone that he wasn’t and that there were things at which he was amazingly talented. But the shift happened when he started seeing that depression was just a sign for him to keep searching to find his passions, not to settle for a career he hated and to make peace with the relationship he had with his father.

          This is something all of us need to work on, and often it’s easier with a therapist who specializes in the subconscious mind (as that’s where it’s all stored), but ultimately you can do this on your own with some real introspection.

          How to Cure Depression

          By now you’re no doubt aware that there’s no miracle “cure” to depression, but hopefully you can see that depression is a very real and often understandable response to things you’ve been through or things (or lack of) in your environment.

          It’s not a matter of just “getting support” or “finding more friends”; that won’t solve it, and it’s not really what you need. Here are some things that will help:

          Advertising

          1. Change Your Scripts

          Overcoming depression starts by understanding how your brain works and how other people’s brains work. When you know that your pain has a purpose, that it’s a method of self-preservation, then you can start being aware of what it’s causing you to do and think. When you are aware, you can then change it and rewire it.

          For more ways to shift your mindset and rewire your scripts, check out some tips here.

          2. Build Meaning and Connection

          Building meaningful connections with others will be easier by working on your emotional intelligence and communication skills. Understanding how to read people’s facial expressions, voice, and body language, and focusing on what that person is saying and feeling will help you develop these.

          You’ll be able to get control over your self-preservation instincts causing you to feel threatened, and you can see people in a different light. When others feel heard, they’re going to want to hear from you. And if you actually open up, you might find that they feel the same or that you can show them a new perspective.

          3. Do Selfless Acts

          It has also been shown that we find meaning when doing something for others, doing something where you show human kindness and make a difference to someone. Start by passing on something helpful, or being there for someone, even if it feels really hard.

          When you step up and show someone you care, or when you open up about your struggles and be vulnerable, someone who needs it (be it in your office, at a homeless shelter, or just a friend) you’ll be amazed at how good it feels. It’s small, incremental changes here that really help.

          Final Thoughts

          Depression is really signalling you to stop and take stock of what’s happening around you or what you’ve left unresolved from your past. Just know that you can work on it, that you can find out what ignites your fire and passion, and what makes you feel like you. Above all else, know that it’s all figureoutable and that you’re going to be fine.

          More Tips on Dealing With Depression

          Featured photo credit: Anastasia Vityukova via unsplash.com

          Reference

          Read Next