When I look back on my life, I realize I've made some whopper mistakes that are all traceable back to my weaknesses. As much as I’d like to blah, blah, blah about the value of experience, I’d rather avoid mistakes in the first place.
How to do, how to do. Then it hit me…life-changing epiphany.
Every weakness is a strength.
I realized however deep my failures are indicate the height of my possible success.
The polarity of weaknesses and strengths
Consider this. Tenacious versus pig-headed. Nurturing versus smothering. Powerful versus controlling. Knight in shining armor versus violent.
We relish and revere the first listing in each pair, finding them strengths, while finding the second one distasteful. Yet both are the same energies -- just more extreme polarities.
That means that a weakness is simply a destructive expression of a strength. If you seek and find constructive outlets for that energy, then you can flip its polarity and lay claim to a strength. And then through that strength, you can add to your success potential.
What that means is embrace your weaknesses because they're your paths to success...and don't let anyone tell you differently.
Find constructive outlets
There are outlets to express every energy each of us has in constructive ways --but we might have to search for it.
Now, that's a faith-based position I hold so I can't point to a tangible thing and give you definitive proof. You either believe it and then act on it...or not.
Let me give you a personal example though from something that came out of aptitude testing I undertook from Johnson O'Connor Research Center almost 20 years ago
Short segue…if you’ve never had aptitude testing, it’s totally cool. I’d especially recommend it for folks in college or getting ready to start your careers to help you find your right career cultures and work outlets. Now back to our regularly scheduled program…
I scored Mt. Everest high in the aptitudes of visual thinking, objectivity (the ability to work through people), and memory, and Appalachian Mountain high in inductive reasoning. In contrast, though, I scored ocean trench deep in ideaphoria (the flow of ideas), and foresight (the ability to see possibilities).
A low score in ideaphoria means a high score in focus. Additionally, high ideaphoria is no guarantee that ideas are good, just that you have a high volume. And since I have many good ideas when I need them, low ideaphoria is okay. Love my focus. But low foresight? Hmmmm. Nope, I got nothing. Too often, I've found myself leaving when I should have stayed or staying when I should have left, mostly because of an inability to see possibilities.
It took me years of struggle to wake up and realize, though, there is a strength to low foresight combined with low ideaphoria. Those aptitudes, along with my strengths, make me one kick-ass diagnostician and problem solver.
I see the problem, diagnose cause and effect, and then define its solution. Done and move on. Go me!
Compensate for weaknesses
Of course, it's not all Christmas and chocolate. Because no matter what, there are arenas where low foresight and ideaphoria can and will bit me in the bum if I'm not careful. Consider a long-term goal like saving for retirement. Sorry but there's no way I can look at a goal decades in the future and have a prayer of achieving it.
What I've learned, though, is how to compensate – and you may need to do the same with some of your aptitudes.
I never set a goal that will take years to manifest without setting short-term milestones. For me, that means breaking down to yearly goals with quarterly markers. By stringing enough quarters together, though, then I’ll reach the multi-years long goal.
In life arenas where I need an idea flow, then I incorporate direct and indirect collaboration. For example, Cynthina Heinsohn, my business partner, is someone with high ideaphoria. She stimulates my flow and I give focus to selective ideas of hers (the best ones!) so we have a win-win. I also spend time bopping around the Internet in social media as other sources of stimulation. It makes a good back-up when more direct stimulation is unavailable.
Remember that then. If you can't find a outlet of strength, then find a compensation whether that's a person, tool, or process.
Success can happen
No one likes failing. And the truth is, no one lives a life filled solely with success. If you’re in a down period in your life, then just remember that success is still possible and however deep you’ve dug that trench is an indication of the height of the mountain you can build. Yes, you’re going to have to fill the hole, and yes that' sucks. Once you do, though, then you can get on with building your mountain.
The secret is to dig in and learn what personal attributes or aptitudes tripped you up. Once you understand that, then devise strategies to flip flop the energy.