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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

7 Steps to Turn Your Weaknesses into Strengths

7 Steps to Turn Your Weaknesses into Strengths
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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.

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    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!

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      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.

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      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!

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        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.

          50 Words of Encouragement for Moving Forward 7 Types Of Emotional Baggage And How To Deal With Them How to Control the Uncontrollable In Life 6 Types of Fear of Success (And How to Overcome Them) Self Awareness Is Underrated: Why the Conscious Mind Leads to Happiness

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          Last Updated on July 21, 2021

          17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

          17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd
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          If you are like most people, you probably have big goals and dreams that you would like to succeed in — you want to be the top in your career, live a healthy lifestyle, or flourish in your relationships.

          Everyone dreams of a positive future, but most people don’t realize the secret to a truly successful life:

          You determine your future in the way you spend your everyday moments. If you want to be a successful person, you must consistently develop good daily habits. As Aristotle pointed out:

          “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.

          Building positive daily habits is a huge challenge, but can you imagine the amazing things you could accomplish with just a little commitment and determination?

          Creating lasting, healthy habits is the real key difference between people who are successful in life and those who are unsuccessful.

          You might be wondering which specific habits make the biggest difference. Not to worry, I’ve compiled a comparison list to help you get a jump start on a successful future.

          1. Successful people embrace change. Unsuccessful people fear change.

          Change is a constant for all of humanity, and it is important that you develop a positive relationship with it.

          When unexpected or unwelcome changes arise, ask yourself how you can embrace it instead of running away. A few practical ways to reverse a change-fearing mindset include:

          • Take a moment to recognize and address any fears associated with the upcoming change.
          • Communicate with a person you trust about your negative feelings toward change.
          • Practice positive thinking, which you can read about in the next section.

          2. Successful people exude joy. Unsuccessful people think, say and do negative things.

          A joyful, positive disposition can seem like a distant reality in today’s cynical world, but it may be easier to achieve than you think. All you have to do is notice the good things around you and practice being thankful.

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          Mindfulness and gratitude are not just buzz words – choosing a positive attitude can honestly change your life. Many studies have found that thankfulness leads to greater happiness. Furthermore, research indicates that gratitude may even have a lasting positive impact on the brain and overall mental health.[1]

          3. Successful people forgive others. Unsuccessful people hold grudges.

          As a human being, you have likely been offended or hurt by others plenty of times. Don’t give in to the temptation to hold a grudge. Let it go.

          Note that forgiving someone does not equate to giving up your boundaries (which are very important) or even admitting that the offending party is right. You should choose to let go for your own peace of mind.

          4. Successful people track progress. Unsuccessful people just criticize.

          Some kinds of criticism, such as constructive criticism, are good for personal and professional development. The kind of criticism I’m talking about is the pessimistic, nagging, unhelpful variety. This is the kind of criticism in play when you are unfairly harsh to yourself or others.

          Toss unfounded criticisms aside and consider tracking your “wins” or your progresses, no matter how small. Take mental notes or keep a progress journal.

          If you have a solid sense of what you have achieved, you will be less tempted to be hard on yourself.

          5. Successful people share information, data and ideas. Unsuccessful people hoard.

          If you have useful information or generate brilliant ideas on the regular, your first instinct may be to keep it all to yourself for personal gain and solo recognition.

          Instead of hoarding bright ideas, share them with your team. Your talents will be on display for the team, and the team will be able to support you and make your ideas a reality.

          6. Successful people are humble. Unsuccessful people talk more than they listen.

          Humility is key. The ability to listen to other people, really listen and understand, is essential to success in both work and relationships — and to listen you have to be humble.

          Everyone has experienced the frustration of being in a one-sided conversation. When someone approaches you with a question or concern, put your own world aside for just a moment and give them the kindness of your full attention.

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          7. Successful people take risks. Unsuccessful people take the easy way out.

          The next time your heart is racing and you want to walk away, consider embracing the risk. You never know what might happen if you take a chance.

          Embracing risks looks like accepting the speaking engagement even though it seems a little scary. Success takes the courageous route, not the easy route.

          8. Successful people learn, improve and read every day. Unsuccessful people stop learning.

          Instead of binge-watching a show tonight, save an hour before bed to read a book and expand your mind.

          Unsuccessful people are afraid to be flexible – they don’t challenge themselves to learn new things. Avoid this pitfall by exposing yourself to new thoughts and ideas every day.

          9. Successful people handle problems well. Unsuccessful people act before they think.

          The next time you run into a problem or even an emergency, try to work through your initial panic reaction with a few deep breaths.

          Instead of acting rashly, think through your next actions as quickly but as logically as you can.

          Learning to handle problems thoughtfully is an absolutely essential tool in the successful person’s toolbox (that’s you!).

          10. Successful people accept responsibility for their failures. Unsuccessful people blame others.

          Along with a previous tip about humility, this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever learn to do – but also the most rewarding. When you’ve failed, you must fight the urge to pass the blame. Successful people are able to fail honestly and gracefully.

          And, hey, don’t feel bad about failing. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed too many times to count. It’s all a part of the process.

          You can check out this article for more tips on how to fail well:

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          How Failure Helps You To Succeed and Grow

          11. Successful people work with passion and commitment. Unsuccessful people have a sense of entitlement.

          A short and sweet lesson for you:

          You should never expect to achieve the things you want without working hard.

          Follow your passion and stay committed to pursuing it. Work hard and stick to your habits every day. You’ll earn your reward.

          12. Successful people spend time with the right people. Unsuccessful people think they already know it all.

          A lot of people miss out on useful relationships and information sharing because they think they can do it all alone.

          Spend time with people who inspire you, spur you to be a better person, and remind you that you can’t go it alone.

          13. Successful people make to-do lists and maintain proper life balance. Unsuccessful people waste their time.

          Ah, time management. Unsuccessful people never master the art of organization and planning.

          Here are a few tips for you when it comes to time management:

          • Make to-do lists. Seriously, this will help you. Make time to do it every morning, evening, or whenever you are able.
          • Keep track of your time. Are you happy with the way you are currently balancing things? What changes can you make?
          • Keep a calendar full of your long-term goals (see next tip).

          14. Successful people write down goals and think long term about their burning desires. Unsuccessful people get distracted every day.

          Why is it so important to keep a long-term goal calendar? Here’s the deal:

          The things you are passionate about today need a backbone.

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          Give your passionate ideas sustainability by writing down goals and staying on task instead of succumbing to distraction.

          15. Successful people compliment others. Unsuccessful people try to bring others down to their level.

          There is no greater confidence than saying “no” to sudden jealous or envious feelings and choosing to sincerely admire someone’s talents instead.

          Unsuccessful people live in a world driven by competition, but successful people know that building people up is far more rewarding than bringing them down.

          16. Successful people want others to succeed. Unsuccessful people secretly hope they fail.

          In the same vein as the point above, this tip is all about good intentions.

          Care for the people around you. Encourage them toward their successes. Hoping that others fail will not help you at all.

          17. Successful people know their purpose and mission. Unsuccessful people don’t know what they want to be.

          The last thing that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is one of the most important:

          Keep your mission in mind.

          Don’t be swayed to and fro by passing emotions and events. Know who you are and pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.

          Final thoughts

          Above all, stay confident. Truly believe that you can be and are successful. Strive to prove it in your day-to-day habits and activities!

          What are you waiting for? Choose one of the habits above and get started today.

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          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Berkeley University of California: How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

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