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

          Coach, International BEST Selling Author, Speaker & Blogger helping thousands around the world.

          judging others Why Constantly Judging Others Is No Good For You 6 Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles That Hold You Back from Success How to Move Forward When You’re Stuck in a Rut How to Make a Positive Change for a Fulfilling Life How to Fight Your Irrational Fears And Stay Strong

          Trending in Mental Strength

          1 How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good 2 15 Simple Things You Can Do to Boost Your Daily Motivation 3 How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week 4 10 Reasons Why You Should Love Yourself First 5 What Is an Existential Crisis? (And How to Cope With It)

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on September 18, 2020

          How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good

          How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good

          Negative thinking can make us feel as though we are never truly good enough to change our lives. Whether we believe that we are not good looking enough, not smart enough, not funny enough, or something in between, we are always right.

          We often tell ourselves the following:

          “I’m not good enough to accomplish this.”

          “They won’t like me. I’m too ugly to be around them.”

          “I won’t ever be able to get out of this situation.”

          How we see ourselves dictates how we lead our lives. This simple truth, while it is currently impacting your reality in a negative way, is actually good news. Why?

          You can change your thinking, and when you can change your thoughts, you can change your reality.

          Put simply, if you start to believe and feel like you are good-looking, intelligent, wealthy, or other things, you begin to see yourself in that light. If you tell yourself that you are capable of achieving greatness, you will eventually get there!

          Advertising

          That said, many find themselves wondering what to do when they get stuck in negative thinking. Are you tired of letting negative thinking run your life? Do you want to take control of how you feel and put yourself out there?

          If you want to start writing your own narrative, let’s learn more about negative thought cycles and how you can change your own internal voice.

          Where Do Negative Thoughts Come From?

          You aren’t going to wake up one day and find that you are suffering from random negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are often a mix of ideas that we develop on our own, as well as ideas that we may have gotten from others.

          For example, if you are constantly watching media where individuals are depicted as having thin bodies and perfect skin (and you do not have the same characteristics as those who are traditionally considered to be beautiful), you may come to the conclusion that you are not beautiful or deserving of love.

          This is far from the truth, but your own take on how the world works can play into how you feel about yourself.

          Equally harmful, the opinions of others can start to affect our self-perception. If several people tell you something negative about yourself, you may begin to take these opinions to heart, telling yourself the same things over time. This self-belief then becomes the model for how you live.

          More often than not, the reality is that individuals who lack confidence and self-esteem are going to develop negative thought patterns.

          This does not mean that confident people do not face internal crises of their own. After all, everyone is prone to experiencing a negative thought here and there. However, those who are self-aware and confident are able to bounce back from these thoughts and return to their truth.

          Advertising

          Those who do not think highly of themselves, on the other hand, are going to keep believing the negative thoughts that come into their mind. The issue? These negative thoughts turn into a repetitive cycle that becomes harder to break over time.

          When you tell yourself something for months or years at a time, it can be difficult to transform that internal dialogue into something more positive and realistic. But is it possible? Absolutely!

          The Importance of Quitting Negative Thinking

          Beyond low-self esteem, there may be mental health-related causes behind your negative thought patterns, like depression. One of the major symptoms of depression is, you guessed it, negative thoughts. Depression can make us feel unworthy of love and life, even if we have everything we could wish for[1].

          You may be struggling with anxiety disorders instead, which can paint uncertain visions of the future and leave you anticipating the worst long before the moment has arrived. Some people have anxiety about the present or will return to past moments where they felt as though they failed, which affects their feelings about who they are or who they will be[2].

          Having mental health issues can make your situation more complex, but it is important to know that these types of health issues are highly treatable, especially with the assistance of a mental health professional. You are deserving of self-love, and getting help is the first, most important step of your journey!

          How to Break the Cycle of Negative Thinking

          In order to overcome your negative thought process, you are going to need two things: self-awareness and a willingness to love yourself. Once you are armed with these two tools, take a look below to learn more about how you can break free of the cycle of negative thinking.

          1. Become Aware of the Thoughts That Are Affecting You

          Negative thoughts are hard to catch because they have a tendency to become a part of who we are. These thoughts build our belief system and go unchallenged, even when they pop up daily.

          All change begins with awareness. Whatever it is that you believe about yourself, take the time to pay attention to your own dialogue.

          Advertising

          What are you saying to yourself on a regular basis? How does it make you feel? Is any of it true?

           

          When these thoughts are brought to your attention, you begin to notice just how often you are saying these things to yourself. Once you’ve cultivated awareness around these thoughts, you can begin to develop the change that you want.

          2. Learn to Accept Them as They Come (and Move on)

          A lot of people believe that you have to completely remove negative thinking patterns from your life in order to be happy. Not only is this not possible, but it’s also not true. You are going to experience negative thoughts regardless. It’s what you decide to do with these thoughts that matters.

          Next time a negative thought comes into your mind, treat it like a passing car. Acknowledge it and let it pass you by. Don’t try to wave the driver over to you or continue thinking about once it has passed. Just let it go.

          Giving power to your thoughts allows them to have control over you. You can’t stop a negative thought from entering your mind, but you always have the power to let it go!

          3. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

          Our own beliefs play on a loop, telling us certain things over and over again. While it’s important to let go, it is also important to get to the root of these issues and figure out where they are coming from.

          Let’s imagine that you are telling yourself you are stupid throughout the day. If you notice this pattern, ask yourself: Does this have any basis in reality? Am I really stupid or am I telling myself this unnecessarily? Is there any evidence to support this[3]?

          Advertising

          Challenge negative thinking by asking questions.

            Challenging your negative thoughts will help you realize that they are highly-exaggerated and untrue. This gives you the opportunity to transform these negative thoughts into positive ones that resonate with you.

            4. Replace These Thoughts with Kinder, More Realistic Alternatives

            Anything that is broken must be replaced. The broken record playing on a loop within you can easily be changed to a tune that you can actually sing to.

            Whenever a negative thought comes up, take the time to stop yourself and think of something positive to put in its place. If you find yourself saying, “I can’t do this,” try telling yourself that you are more than capable instead.

            Keep in mind, however, that you need to tell yourself things that you truly believe. If you start telling yourself things that don’t resonate with you and encounter a situation that proves your belief wrong, you may do more harm than good!

            Bottom Line

            Changing the way you think is a rigorous but rewarding process that will change your outlook on life. If you find yourself struggling with negative thinking, learn more about where they come from and how you can stop them for good with the guide above!

            More on How to Stop Negative Thinking

            Featured photo credit: Max Ilienerwise via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next