You have years of experience in crunching numbers for business case analyses, writing marketing and tactical action plans, quickly analyzing business situations, all of which used to be your weaknesses but are now finely tuned strengths.
All of a sudden, you’re getting feedback from others that you’re too quick to assess a problem, don’t allow people to end their sentences because you’re too busy finishing it for them, assume that you already have the answers, having become a “know it all” in your area of expertise.
Your Strength is Now Your Weakness?
What’s happened? Your strengths have officially become your weaknesses as Marshall Goldsmith would say.
This is a good thing, since it means you’ve achieved mastery of your skill set that’s taken years to develop, but bad because your strengths may be hindering you, keeping you from being open to new ideas, approaches, or feedback from others.
My strengths are listening patiently to those who have less experience than I do, coaching underlings in areas that I have mastery in, and taking responsibility for my mistakes.
What’s the dark side of these strengths? I sometimes interrupt people as they’re talking, believing that I know what they’re going to say, mistakenly offering advice on what I think they’re going to ask me; provide unsolicited advice by not allowing the other person learn from their mistakes; and at times, fall on the sword or beating myself up for making mistakes.
Being Too Hard on Yourself
For example, one of my former VPs always told me, “You’re too hard on yourself. Knock it off. What’s done is done. I’m sure you’ll remember to not do it again.” As I was beating myself up, I privately suffered from making mistakes because I was so careful to not make them; it drove me crazy when I did happen to make a mistake. In fact, I continue to battle this weakness today. I’m always in disbelief that even made the mistake!
My advice? Don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re not perfect. We still have weaknesses, but now we also have over developed strengths that we need to manage.
If you think you have weaknesses:
- Assess and analyze: Make a list your personal and work weaknesses
- Review your list: Review each weakness on how you can work on it by changing it into a strength, such as doing research on it
- Practice: Practice overcoming the weakness privately, then trying it out at work
If you have strengths:
- Assess and analyze: Do the same assessment and analysis like you did for your weaknesses
- Review your list: But this time identify any strengths that you believe may have turned into weaknesses
- Ask for feedback: Ask for feedback from trusted people on how your strengths are overwhelming them and what they think the proper response should have been.
- Be mindful: Become aware in the moment where your strengths can go sideways on you, preparing to short circuit it before, so you can re-learn the strength’s proper level of intensity.
Don’t Seek Too Much Perfection
You are not Borg. Don’t be Seven of Nine going crazy over Omega in pursuit of excellence. My point is to make peace with your weaknesses. We’re not perfect. I still have a long list of things that I consider weaknesses that drive me crazy. As I get older, it’s getting harder for me to have patience with my weaknesses because I feel like I’m waiting from them to turn into strengths all by themselves.
It’s a bummer that your strengths turn into weaknesses over time. The trick is knowing when your strength has become a weakness.
The Smart Lemming Rules of Life and Career Management series outlines my rules of personal and work success. After reflecting on my personal values, I made this list, realizing values are my rules of being or life management principles. Based on your experiences, I hope this list inspires you to identify your own rules. Here are the rules to my success that may help you over the course of your journey:
- The Smart Lemming Rules of Life and Career Management
- The Smart Lemming Rules of Life and Career Management: Overview of the Pyramid and Its Levels
Level 1: Rules for Our Fundamental Nature
- #1 Find your own spirituality and practice it.
- #2 Know what you want or the Universe (or God) won’t know what to send you: If you don’t know what you want, how can you get to where you want to be?
- #3 Fate or free will? Regardless of what you believe, we all have a purpose to being here. The tricky part is discovering what it is.
- #4 Don’t wait for your future to happen to you, you have to be vigilant in making your future happen.
- #5 Understand your dark side, but don’t give into it or indulge it.
- #6 Aspire to always help and teach others.
Level 2: Rules of Continuous Learning and Modeling
- #7 Watch or read media sources when you need inspiration. Reflect on why you like a certain movie or TV show, so you understand why it moves you.
- #8 Always be learning. Continue learning through books or any source that gives you new ideas on how to approach your work or feeds your passion.
- #9 Become self aware. If you aren’t, then how will you know you’re screwing up?
- #10 Accept responsibility and make peace with your decisions and the consequences of those decisions. They have created the person you are today. The trick is, do you like what you’ve created? If not, then how can you change?
- #11 Keep a lid on chaos. Never let situations or emotions get away from you. Be the calm in the eye of the storm as strength, reflecting confidence for the most vulnerable people in your life.
Level 3: Rules for the Actual Journey
- #12 Stay still and don’t move if you feel lost, so you can find yourself or let the opportunity find you.
- #13 Always be course correcting.
- #14 Surround yourself with trusted and loyal friends. Be prepared to deal with betrayal without ambivalence. But be prepare to forgive (if the person is sincere, I mean really sincere).
- #15 Learn to channel your inner extrovert, if you’re an introvert. Learn to channel your inner introvert, if you’re an extrovert.
Level 4: Rules of Adapting to Environment and Interacting with Others
- #16 Make peace with your weaknesses. We’re not perfect. Even your strengths will turn into weaknesses. The trick is knowing when your strength has become a weakness.
- #17 Master your emotions and body language. Use them strategically in life and work.
- #18 Mentor yourself via the Space Time Continuum. What would your future self tell your present self? How can you get back on track? What have you done well? What more can you do? What would you tell yourself as a child, teen, 20 or 30 something?
Level 5: Rules of Humility
- #19 Never take your success for granted. Always prepare for the worst case scenarios. Be prepared for two steps forward and one step back.
- #20 Be humble. Treat others well, don’t be arrogant, and don’t drink your own Kool-Aid.
Level 6: Rule of Being
- #21 Be compassionate.