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    Is your greatest strength your greatest weakness?


    “If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.” Masaru Emoto

    It’s a few weeks now since we arrived home from New York. Like all holidays, the time seemed to go in the blink of an eye and already it feels like a bit of a distant memory.

    New York is an amazing city – alive and buzzing. From the moment you arrive you feel you have no choice but to jump in and swim with the fast moving tide. After ten days at that frenetic pace, Chris and I started to yearn for some quiet. A sign that we’re not as young as we used to be, but it also made me reflect on the nature of contradictions.

    We spend time in places we love and we start to yearn for the opposite.

    It’s usually the same with people. My therapist friends tell me that when a relationship breaks down, the quality that was most attractive in a partner in the early days is often the quality that drives the other mad later.

    All of us have great strengths that can also be our greatest weaknesses.

    For many people I work with, their sensitivity and their capacity to create beauty in the world also leads to worry, insecurity and a sense of self-doubt.

    For others, empathy enables them to make deep connections but they absorb too much of other people’s worry.

    And for others still, a sense of boldness and courage has them worried that they’ll come across as arrogant or aggressive.

    As with all contradictions, the challenge is in finding the balance. We don’t want to dilute our strengths or apologise unnecessarily for who we are but it takes a great sense of awareness to discover and maintain that delicate middle ground.

    The following tips might help you to better understand the strengths of yourself and others, and to use this knowledge to enhance your life.

    • Find an unrealised strength that you can bring to life. For example, the right kind of humour is a great way to balance deep sensitivity.
    • Accept that everyone is something of a contradiction and imperfect. Take the pressure off yourself and your loved ones and make room for the fact that we all make mistakes some days.
    • Proactively choose to contain the strengths that drain you when you overuse them. For example, if your empathy is high, set boundaries around how much time you spend with needy people.
    Posted in: Self-belief
    Kate James

    About the author

    Kate James is an author, coach and mindfulness teacher. She works with female leaders and business owners to help them clarify their values and strengths and discover a mindset that allows them to live confident, purposeful lives.