Refuse to be Passive

Strengths and Weaknesses

In Life in General on July 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I’ve been thinking about strengths and weaknesses lately. This has come about for a few reasons. The first is that I recently had my yearly staff evaluation at work, and the second is that I will, fairly shortly, begin applying for serving jobs out in Toronto to help offset the cost of my education. And you know that in interviews they always ask you what your greatest strengths and weaknesses are. What a dumb question. It stumps me every time. So this time, I’m beating it to the punch. I don’t simply want to take a strength and twist it into a weakness by saying something like, “I care too much.” That’s absurd and every employer has heard a hundred people claim a strength as a weakness. So that’s where this thought process started.

Strangely enough, I don’t actually think that the concept of turning a strength into a “weakness” is really all that far off. Our real weaknesses however, often lie opposite our greatest strengths. Think Superman and kryptonite. His strength is directly related to that green gem, and yet it debilitates him.  Yet without his alien heritage on Krypton he wouldn’t have powers, he’d simply be another human being.  Superman has to take the bad with the good, just like we do.

In my life, the fact that I dwell on the future and the possibilities it holds is a great strength. The fact that I’m a big picture thinker is a boon. That being said, I can sometimes leave detail thinkers in the dust looking dazed and confused when I jump from step one to twenty-three. Then I have to back up and work step by step through the process. There you have it! A strength and a weakness. The other weakness that goes hand in hand with being a global thinker is that I tend to be rather horrific at the organizational/administrative end of things. I’ve always fondly thought of my office at work as organized chaos. Now that I’m leaving my job and have to prepare my office for a new person, I’m discovering that it’s more chaos than organized. I need a details person to back me up and make sure things work out– all the Ts are crossed and the Is are dotted.

What else? I am a communicator. On the whole that’s a fantastic trait. While I easily pick up friendships with people in all areas of life due to a wide variety of interests, I tend to love sharing a little too much and have difficulty allowing others to get a word in edgewise. I need to continue to develop my abilities as a communicator, and part of that is recognizing that communication is a two-way street. I need to temper my desire to share my experiences with the need to listen to what others have to share. Once again, a strength juxtaposed with a weakness.

So that just goes to show that there are weaknesses that go with strengths. The key for me, when talking about weaknesses with an employer, is to be honest, but also to know the solutions to my weaknesses. I need to focus on catering to my strengths and be willing to find solutions for my weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses, and they aren’t necessarily bad things. All we have to do is learn to harness the strengths of others to support our weaknesses and really allow us to shine.

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