As long as I can remember I have loved going to conference type events. I felt invigorated hearing from different speakers about their life experiences and getting to know other people who didn’t mind sharing a bit of themselves with “the group”. I wont lie, these events could be pretty lame (okay, really lame), but they were fascinating. The leader of the event usually opens with a rousing speech about all of the life changing insight you will gain over the one or two days that you will be spending immersed in their incubator for greatness. Most of the time thats a bunch of bullshit. You get some good tips, network, and eat some pretty good food. But once it a while, you will hear a speaker that does say something that changes how you look at the world.
Once such event was my Junior year of High School. The event was focused on making us the outstanding leaders of tomorrow, the next generation of movers and shakers. There was a great deal of focus on what would help us moving into college and career. A speaker talked about the interview process and selling yourself. He talked about the dreaded question, the one we all have heard in every interview since the very first one…. “What are some of your weaknesses.” To this day, hundreds of job/school/pageant interviews later, I still get this question almost every time. His answer surprised me, he said dont make up small weaknesses or be disingenuous, take a real look at your true weaknesses and then see how those can also be your greatest strengths.
LIGHTNING STRUCK! We are taught and told that weaknesses or vices are our downfall. That we must change these negatives and strive to be better. For me, I saw his advice not only as a way to present myself professionally, but on another level how to accept myself, flaws and all. Those parts of my personality that I though made me unlikable, annoying, or undeserving, those were part of who I was. So instead of hating myself and my weaknesses, I worked to see how they could become a source of strength.
So what are my weaknesses? I am sensitive, and while I may get upset about something it helps me be empathetic and understand other peoples perspectives. I am obnoxious. My sometimes loud and outgoing personality can get me into trouble, but it also means I am very friendly and want to make people around me feel comfortable (even if that means I tell a bad joke or two). I am too rigid and vain. This means I am thoughtful and I worry about how my actions and words will be taken by other people and I want people to have a positive experience of me. I am stubborn. This is because I feel confident in my decisions and only choose a course of action once I have weighed its consequences and feel it is the best course of action.
There are many many more weaknesses I have. But I work to make them strengths, to see how they can be used as positive traits. Working to accept who you are and how you interact with the world is definitely a strength.