By Herbert Mtowo
“Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Did you realize that your weaknesses can contain an overwhelming abundance of hidden positive value? Those who only make use of their strengths are missing a big part of the picture. Use your strengths, to be sure, and also make use of your weaknesses. Even the great Paul of the bible, understood the value of making his weaknesses his strengths, instead of fighting the pain he realized he can embrace and cooperate and live with it to bring the best out of him. God spoke to him, “My strengths are made perfect in weakness”.-2 Corinthians 12:10-
We all have our weaknesses, and when our goal is to persuade, we need to turn those weaknesses into strengths. Equally important, we need to speak up about them. In most business settings, where persuasion is personal and takes place between two people or a small group, a trait that is perceived by others as a weakness-or that you personally experience as a weakness-sometimes needs to be acknowledged out loud by you. That way, you can control people’s perception of the weakness and recast it as strength.
Your weaknesses represent the areas in which you can make the greatest, most dramatic improvements. Sure, you can improve on your strengths but any improvement will be incremental. However, when you set out to overcome your weaknesses the change can be stunning. For example, instead of saying to yourself “I’m no good at meeting people” consider what an enormous difference you could make by taking it upon yourself to become better at meeting people. By turning around a particular weakness you can have a dramatic impact. Which brings us to an interesting question: What is a weakness? Things such as gender, race, an accent, height, and so forth are often experienced as disadvantages in the workplace even though they aren’t weaknesses in the same sense that, for example, a stutter or dyslexia or extreme shyness is. Because of that, I almost decided to call this article, “Turn Your Differences Into Strengths.” But in addition to sounding way too politically correct, that misses point. If it feels like a weakness to you in the situation where you want to be persuasive, you need to get it out on the table and turn it into strength.
Half the battle is internal. It’s understanding that you’re as good as everyone else, and believing that what you may perceive as a weakness is actually a strength. The Buddhists teach that the thought is the root, and the root becomes the tree. This is true no matter what your personal profile. Believe that your “weakness” is strength, and you will soon see it in that light. It isn’t a matter of fooling yourself; it’s a matter of being open to a different perspective.
In politics, candidates are forced to turn their weaknesses into strengths in a very public way. The most famous example is probably Ronald Reagan’s quip during a debate with Walter Mondale in 1984. Reagan, who was 73 at the time, announced, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”
The weakness-into-strength positioning begins at the moment a political career is launched, when the first-time candidate is accused of being inexperienced. The standard response is, “That’s right! I am an outsider, and I’ll be a breath of fresh air in the stale, corrupt halls of power.” Barrack Obama stated that in his campaigns’. In the 2008 Democratic primaries, Barrack Obama famously ran on his outsider status against longtime Washington insiders such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Bill Richardson.
Obama’s eventual opponent, John McCain, had a different weakness to contend with in the Republican primaries. Despite the fact that McCain had been a U.S. senator for 22 years, he was more widely known for having been a prisoner of war. Rudolph Guiliani, the Republican front-runner at the time, was known for “leadership,” a more positive trait when you’re hoping to be president. McCain’s campaign turned his weakness into strength by concluding his television ads with the words, “John McCain for Commander-in-Chief,” rather than the standard, “John McCain for President.” It emphasized his potential for leadership as well as his military heroism, and helped to shift voters’ perceptions about the traits a president should possess.
In any job, making your weakness your strength is a positive. But when you’re persuading, it’s important to remember the other half of the equation: talking about it out loud, so that the unacknowledged “weakness” doesn’t distract people from your message.
What do you think your weaknesses are? Are they keeping you from starting something new, from pursuing a dream? Sometimes we have fears about our weaknesses without realizing it. Take a minute to think about what you’ve always wanted to do, or what you’re doing now. What are your fears? What do you perceive to be your weaknesses? What are your limitations, and what’s holding you back?
Everyone is blessed with numerous weaknesses. Instead of denying them or trying not to think about them, select a few and make the effort to overcome them. It can be a truly life changing experience.Go ahead turn your weaknesses in 2015 and beyond into your reservoirs of strengths..Make the best out of 2015,remeber you and me only have now and today to accomplishment all that we ant to accomplish in life.