We've probably all been asked at some stage in our lives, 'What's your biggest weakness?' and 'What's your biggest strength?'. They seem to be standard interview questions that people reel out knowing full well everyone knows you're supposed to make sure your weakness could actually be turned in to a strength, for example, 'Oh I get so frustrated being late so I always have to be early'. Oh dear, what a terrible weakness that is.
What I'm about to say may fly in the face of what you've been taught, but I'm going to say it anyway. Your real biggest weakness (the one you would never say at interview) is actually your biggest strength.
If you are able to identify something about yourself that you really don't like, it's a really great thing - because it allows you to work on it. If it lurks in the background and you're never made aware of it, it will always be with you in that form.
If you don't actually know what your biggest weakness is, there is an easy way to check.
Who annoys you the most? What sort of person? Why? What is it about them?
OK - that trait you've found, it probably annoys your most because that's the thing about YOU that your subconscious doesn't like i.e. what you notice in other people is a reflection of what you notice in yourself.
My biggest weakness used to be a lack of decisiveness and conviction in my own actions. It took me ages to make a decision because I tend to be paralysed with the fear of 'what if it's wrong?'.
I'm sharing that with you, not because I particularly want everyone to know what I battle with internally, but because it's really important to find and admit a real weakness, something that you're not proud of or can spin in to a super positive. From there you can move forward.
So spend some time observing people and finding out what let's you down about you. When you have, you will have a much better sense of yourself.
Now comes the fun part!
As I knew my problem was decisiveness, probably stemming from a fear of failure, I could push myself to overcome that. I read a lot on the subject, used my own training in confidence and pushed my boundaries, one baby step at a time.
So far, I've started this blog, moved to a different city, left the security of my parents' company and really made headway in my career. All these things didn't come easily to me. It took a lot of pushing on my part to make these decisions but I knew I had to follow my heart and intuition and not second guess myself.
Once I made a decision I had to act on it and follow through.
So far, it's been going really well. Whilst I can't say that I'm a really decisive person yet, I can certainly be relied upon to made a decision and stick to it, which would never have been the case a few months ago. So maybe now I have to start looking for my new biggest weakness...
This is the best way I've found so far for self improvement - take one thing at a time, take baby steps and keep pushing forward. Being able to look back and say 'That's not a weakness of mine anymore' is one of the greatest confidence boosts you can get.
N.B. Cross posted to my blog.