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What's Your Weakness?

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0420_Stokes

I’m impatient. Extremely impatient. I want to get down to business so quickly that I forget to be charming or polished or put any effort into the situation. I can make a person feel like I don’t care about him or her and that it’s all business. This is a weakness of mine. 

We all have weaknesses. Some of us are just more self-aware. I wasn’t always aware that I came off like this. For me, hopping up on stage and giving an impromptu presentation is easy. Leading a meeting or inspiring people—it’s just a conversation to me. It’s something that comes easily. I actually thrive when there’s no planning. Planning hurts me. I feel stifled and not creative. But not everyone is like that. Whenever it came to do something like this, I would come off like I didn’t understand the other person. 

I have my No. 2, TJ, to thank for helping me realize my weakness. One day, he said to me, “You do realize that not everyone else can hop up on stage five minutes before and seem like they’ve prepared for hours, right?” The thing is, I hadn’t. TJ pointing it out gave me self-awareness. My understanding that I operate on this wavelength was the biggest hurdle for me when it came to business, so realize this was a blessing. 

Once you’ve realized your weakness, the next step is actually doing something about it. Once I realized I could come off as though I didn’t care, I began making a more active effort to  be charming and put humor into things. I actually wasn’t always this way. My dad left when I was 11 and it traumatized me and made me very serious. Me working on this has brought me back to where I’m supposed to be. Because I know my weakness, I’ve been able to work on how I adapt to others. I remind myself not to just care about the task, but the person who is doing the task. 

For those of you out there thinking, “I don’t have a weakness,” you’re wrong. Everyone has one (or two, or three…) but you just haven’t come to the level of self-awareness that you need to pinpoint what it is. How do you do this? Be approachable. Find someone who will be your own TJ and reveal your weakness. In order to be approachable, you have to be the kind of leader that your staff feels comfortable talking to. You can’t be the guy—or girl—that loses it and kicks the trash can. That type of behavior is making everyone on your team distrust you. You need to gain the trust of your team so they know that they can tell you what your weaknesses are and trust that, rather than getting upset, you will take it into consideration and work on it. 

If you’re not self-aware (which, as I mentioned, may require a little help and humility) you’ll float through life blind. Once you give in and realize that you’re not perfect, you’ll be able to see yourself like you never have before. It’ll be like looking at yourself for the first time in a mirror. Self-awareness will drive success. It will point out your flaws and, in doing that, you will realize what you need to grow as both a person and a leader.    

Drop the ego. There’s no room for arrogance. In order to be successful, you need to continue to learn—and that includes learning about yourself. If you do that, you’ll learn how to grow and you’ll gain a desire to get feedback from others and how you can change. Discover and accept your weaknesses. It’ll be a gamechanger.  

 

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