What if your weaknesses are actually your strengths?

What if your weaknesses are actually your strengths? Photo of 2 chairs and a small table outside a white house with blue shutters and an open blue door. Pink flowers frame the scene.

Recently, during the Discover A New Career group coaching programme, we were brainstorming a few ideas on how one participant could test out bringing together her science background and her emerging love for art, which she has been pursuing for the last year. 

Teaching science through the language of art came up but she really doesn’t like working with groups; she prefers one-to-one.

This is where the discussion got juicy!

She saw her dislike of public speaking and her preference for one-to-one as a weakness.

I suggested that actually doing things (including teaching) one-to-one is a strength and a skill, her superpower, if you will.

She was seeing this skill through the eyes of what has been valued in the places she has previously worked and because the opposite has not been valued (or this is the perception), she hasn’t been able to see what she does have to offer as valuable elsewhere.  

I loved seeing this new understanding dawn.

What she viewed as a barrier – her dislike of public speaking – has started to shine a light on a different and equally valid way of operating in a career. 

Not recognising your strengths because they are not required in your current career may have you labelling them as weaknesses – a part of you that is unwanted, that needs to be retrained, pushed aside and is ultimately shutting career doors for you.

I invite you to pause and recognise where this may be happening so you can reframe these weaknesses as strengths – your superpowers!

A good place to start is to assess what is valued in your current place of work:

What is the opposite of this?

Which do you lean towards naturally (forget what is expected and required for a moment)?

Which would you love to operate in if you could?

Next, I would suggest shoring up this new knowledge to strengthen it thus building your confidence to reframe your previously perceived weakness as the strength and superpower it actually is.

Two strengths of mine that have gone through this process are my humour and sensitivity.

I have always enjoyed my humour, using it in settings you’re not supposed to (renaming myself for a few video calls stands out in my mind 😂) and I know it allows for difficult subjects to be addressed and puts people at ease.

However, it still worries me that I’m not being professional enough etc and maybe people won’t like it, but each time I lean into it I get a great response – this is one of my superpowers and the book Humour, Seriously: Why Humour is a Superpower at Work and in Life confirms it. It is one of the only ‘business books’ that has ever really appealed to me and articulates the importance of humour in a way I have never been able to. The phrase ‘gravity and levity’ which titles the opening chapter explains my superpower brilliantly.

The other ‘business book’ that I have found very helpful is Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work. It can be very hard to know how to navigate sensitivity in the workplace without feeling like an overly emotional cat meme. This book is full of great tips, exercises to help you fully harness your sensitivity and explains about how sensitivity is a much needed superpower in the workplace.

I encourage you to dig around to find the weaknesses that are actually your strengths and then find a way to put form to them. By doing this you are once again unearthing some of your hidden treasure which is integral to uncovering new and exciting career possibilities.  

What would it be like if your superpower opened career doors for you instead of closing them?

I would love to hear from you if you give this a go!

Photo by unknown on Canva.