Why it's important to know your own weaknesses

This is the fourth installment in the Know Your Own series. To read earlier posts in the series, click on the titles below.

Know Your Own Worth

Know Your Own Strength

Know Your Own Values

We all have weaknesses. Even the most organised, compassionate or entrepreneurial types have weaknesses.

Here are my tips on knowing and making the most of your weaknesses. For this exercise, have a pen and paper handy and jot down your thoughts. They will have more power when written down.

Don’t pretend you don’t have any

Pretending you don’t have any weaknesses won’t help you grow as a person. It might stroke your ego, thinking you have no faults but it will leave you with little room for improvement and growth.

Not to mention, it will be hard on the people who have to work and live with you every day. No one is perfect, don’t strut around thinking that you are.

Identify what your weaknesses are

Remember that moment during a job interview when the person asks you what your weakness is. I always hated that part of the interview. Mainly because they expected you to say something and I was never sure if I was going to shoot myself in the foot. My standard answer was usually filing (which indeed I hate and consequently don’t do as often as I should). This isn’t an interview though.

Think for a moment what you want to do and be more than anything else. Then think about where you are right now. More than likely your weaknesses at the things that stop you from getting to point A (where you want to be) from Point B (where you actually are).

Don’t be too hard on yourself

When I wrote that last headline, it dawned on me that some people might go to town with identifying their weaknesses. Some of us are naturally hard on themselves. This is a time to be logical and practical, not brutal.

The purpose of identifying your weaknesses is not to undermine your self-esteem.

Also a quick note to women out there, your weaknesses should have nothing to do with your actual body parts or the way you look. Overeating may be a weakness, large thighs or cellulite is not.

Keep things in perspective.

Get help if you need it

It is important to distinguish a weakness from an addiction. If you have problems with drinking, drugs, gambling or any other harmful problem. Get help!

It is important NOT to simply write these issues off as some petty weakness. Your addiction could ruin your health, career and family.

Get help and get it under control now.

Understand how your weaknesses affect you

This part might be slightly unpleasant.

Time to have a close and honest look at how your weaknesses are affecting you. How are they having a negative impact on your life?  How are they holding you back? What are they costing you? Remember cost is not necessarily a monetary value.

They could also be having a negative impact on the people you love, so give some thought to how your weaknesses may be affecting those around you.

Being aware can be half of the battle.

Work towards change (if that is what you want)

Perhaps you are not interested in changing. Perhaps you are happy staying the way you are.

The point of identifying your weaknesses is to work out if you want to change or improve anything, then getting to work on doing just that.

Say for instance you are lazy but you want to exercise more. Work out a plan. Start with something simple, planning to run your first marathon isn’t practical if you are struggling to get off the couch.

It’s always a good idea to get the hardest task out of the way first. Go for a walk in the morning before the rest of the day give you excuses not to exercise. Enlist a friend to go with you (someone to keep you accountable).

It might also be helpful to focus on one big change at a time.  If you decide to take on several change projects all at once, you could end up feeling overwhelmed and end up chucking them all.

In some cases you might want to work with a coach, mentor or a helpful family member or friend. However you decide to go about it, there are ways that you can get your weaknesses under control- if you want to.

The key is how badly you want to.

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