When Strengths Can Become Weaknesses

Posted: November 22, 2010 in life
Tags: , ,

Strengths | Weaknesses

Preface: I’ve read almost a dozen blogs or Facebook/Twitter updates today from people claiming they were amazing at something. Anything, really. And, it really makes me think about how much we hide behind the internet. Thus, I’m going to share my strengths as well as what can also make them my weaknesses. If we’re going to keep up over social media, let’s be honest with each other.

This is one of those completely vulnerable posts that I write like once a year – see 15 Things I Suck At (also, thanks to my Uncle Tim for pointing out that #16 should also be grammar for not titling the post 15 Things At Which I Suck).

A little over a year ago, Tara came home from work with a great book, Strengths Finder 2.0. The book requires you to take a personal assessment quiz and then lists your top 5 strengths. Then, the book is filled with information from how to work with a person who has certain strengths, what to expect from those strengths, etc.

The message of the book is genius – focus on your strengths instead of trying to focus on getting better in the areas where you’re weak. The results have been spot on for the people I’m closest to – me included.

But here’s the thing: strengths can also become massive weaknesses. I’m definitely not proud of the dark shadows of my strengths, but I absolutely hate when people use their social media outlets to only blast how awesome they are.

That said, here goes.

Strength #1 – Competition
Sounds harmless harmless enough. I strive to be the best, unless I realize I can’t compete and then I’m withdrawing quicker than I signed up. I also have a hard time letting someone else have the spotlight because I feel like I have to compete. In middle school my basketball team was undefeated after several seasons – after our first loss I seriously considered quitting. When I got into high school I did quit – as a freshman, I knew I wouldn’t be playing varsity and the thought absolutely killed me. So instead of playing the role of freshman benchwarmer, I quit because I knew I wasn’t the best. Same with baseball and ultimately football.

What a strength, right?!

Strength #2 – WOO, or winning others over
Also sounds pretty harmless. Until I get ticked off at someone and competition kicks in. Then I secretly get passive-agressive about how and why I’m better than that person. The heights of this strength are much greater than the weaknesses.

Strength #3 – Achiever
Really the only bad thing about being an achiever is that I’m willing to do extra work to look good. It also goes right along with competition – I’m willing to do (almost) anything to win.

Strength #4 – Maximizer
While I can maximize my time pretty well at work, I often combine this strength with Achiever and end up working a lot when I shouldn’t be working. The biggest downfall of those two strengths when combined: I don’t want to retire and THEN start living my life. I doubt anyone on their deathbed has ever said, “Man, I totally should have worked more”.

Strength #5 – Adaptability
This is probably the worst one for me. It’s a great strength in the fact that I am usually always open to change. Tara tends to hate this as a strength when she needs a response from me like, “what do you want for dinner?” or “what are the plans tonight?” since most of the time I’m open to anything or everything. Even though I know that’s not what she wants to hear, I really am open to anything.

I would really encourage you to check out Strengths Finder. Have your spouse/significant, friends, coworkers, parents or small group take the quiz and share the results with each other. You will truly be amazed.

Also, if you’ve taken the quiz and read the book, I would love to hear your strengths. And if you feel like being vulnarable on a stranger’s blog, share your weaknesses too.

I bet mine are better.

Sorry…freakin’ competition 🙂

  1. Kris Stewart says:

    Competition – I feel the exact same way. This is always holding me back as I will never attempt anything I think I might fail at
    Communication – I like to talk to people… I haven’t thought to check if anyone wants to listen..
    WOO – This worked well when I was selling stuff at Best Buy. I am glad that am not shy hope others don’t mind.
    Responsibility – This sounds great doesn’t it… Some might better refer to it as stress…
    Harmony – Combine this with a guys goal of always trying to fix things…. I am in constant conflict with myself…. what harmony that is.

    So I have to say taking the strength finder is one of the best things I have done. It changed my view of myself as an employee but more than that I understood other people much better and changed how I dealt with others. This greatly improved my relationship with my boss.

    Great post T. I enjoyed it.

  2. chuckazooloo says:

    my top 5.


    which doesn’t work when the people you work with don’t want to hear your input of strategic ideas about how they can better activate what they could be doing.

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