Being vulnerable is a sign of weakness. Being vulnerable is a sign of failure. Being vulnerable is not something we want to be…
These are common staples of our society these days. Spurred on by social media culture, entertainment industries and societal expectations that date back decades, it is hard to voice out concerns over being weak in certain areas of our lives. We live in fear that showing weakness is a negative characteristic – an indicator that we are somehow not capable enough. We’ve all lived with this unspoken expectation that weakness leads to failure, and to be honest, I agree – but not for the same reasons you might assume. Over the last few weeks I’ve posted many articles about changing our perspectives on different life concepts in the hope that with a fresh view of some of these topics you might find new ways to tackle some of the challenges in your life. Today I will do the same, with the hope that you learn to see your weaknesses as your strengths… I’m crazy – I know, but hear me out.
Imagine for a moment that you are gardening, and you throw out a bunch of seeds in no particular arrangement into the soil. Over the next few months your garden will begin to blossom, but due to the fact that you just threw your seeds out without balancing out their distribution, your garden grows in patches. Suddenly, what you assumed would be a colorful flower bed has turned into a seemingly random and unorganized mess with blotches of color in some places, and empty soil in others.
The flowers that blossomed are your strengths. They are beautiful, and they attract your eye. You might even convince yourself that because of how beautiful they are, you don’t actually notice the soil patches where no seeds actually grew. You ignore the the weaknesses, because that’s not important. What’s important is that there is strength in the garden – we don’t need to talk about the weaknesses. While this might work, subconsciously you will always know that those patches are there. You have weaknesses, they’re in front of you, and whether anyone else can see them or not is besides the point. For you, they become a constant reminder of the fact that you did not in fact plant the seeds properly and this reality can stick with you. Suddenly, the flowers that actually blossomed become secondary, and the doubt you feel about the patches of soil takes over. That to me, is a sort of “failure”. A low point, where you are so distracted by the negative that the positive becomes obsolete.
While some of you may have such a relationship with gardening, what I am speaking about here is our personal development. Our character. Our skills. Our confidence in ourselves. To ignore our weaknesses is to falsify the enjoyment of our strengths. So how can we remedy this? How can we shift our perspective of our weaknesses to help us become more “well rounded” people. Whether professionally, socially, personally, or emotionally, something we often fail to remember is that those patchy areas of soil are literally areas for potential growth. They are areas where you can in fact plant new seeds, try different types of plants, add more colors, and distinguish new areas of your garden, or in our case, your overall character. A diversified character, of many colors and many types of skill sets is one that will help you feel confident in your abilities to tackle your challenges in life. No one key fits all doors. There is no such thing as a person with no weaknesses. It’s not possible to be good at everything – and if you are, you don’t need to be reading this article.
As much as I write these articles there are countless areas in my own life that I consider weaknesses, and while sometimes that truly frustrates me, I’m on a personal mission to change my perspective on these things in order to see a new value in them. To nurture them to grow into new areas of my character, things that could help me stand out not only to others, but more importantly to myself. Things that are so uniquely my own, that they become a foundation of who I am. To do so, helps build a confidence that defines you. It’s unique to you. In many cases, your weaknesses are in fact your strengths, as they represent new opportunities to learn, to fail, to grow, and ultimately to experiment with your life. You’re already good at your strengths, but your value is also in where your potential lies – your weaknesses. When you find the balance between your strengths and your weaknesses you become more effective at overcoming challenges, solving problems, and ultimately using your authentic self to navigate life.
It’s not about growing a garden with no patches, it’s about growing a garden where your patches are what make you stand out.
Believe in the potential of your weaknesses… #zuluechoinitiative