Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Well, I have a theory that everyone's greatest asset is also, conversely, their greatest liability. Think about it—it's just the flip side of the same coin. The dark side. Too much of a good thing.
It's one of the reasons we can't get rid of our weakness—because they are part of what is best about us.
You are thinking, no, actually, that's not true. But that's just because you haven't really thought about it. So pause for a minute and work with me here.
What do you think is one of your best qualities? Something that you are simply better at than most people around. It isn't necessarily anything specific (your great tennis backhand, for example) but something more broad. An ability, a power. I think that like a Pokémon character, we all have both specific abilities and also hidden abilities. And that as we mature, we go through many steps to accomplish cycles and become (hopefully) better defended, more powerful, with greater capacity to succeed.
So in terms of your abilities, or hidden abilities, (for example) perhaps you are remarkably bright and have an analytical and mathematical mind and are gifted with the ability to assess numerous data points and crunch remarkable amounts of information?
Maybe you have an intense desire to find the best answer, to be great—not just good, to succeed at the highest level, never settle?
Or you are a "doer," action-oriented, goal-focused, get it done and plow through all obstacles?
Possibly your strength is in the ability to intuit others' perspectives and you can access ways to interpret and inspire others, creating paths of communication and understanding between different personalities, businesses, perspectives, cultures.
But for each of those remarkable gift, there is a challenge, a weakness, a dark side.
For the analytically gifted who offer a deep understanding of issues in all their complexity, sifting all the information in the universe can be very time consuming. It is sometimes hard to stop analyzing, make a determination and move forward. There is always more to assess. There are always downsides and risks to be considered. Finding why you can't do something can sometimes overwhelm the goal of figuring out how you can.
The aspirational vision of the perfectionist demands a higher level of performance, often inspiring step-out accomplishments, demonstrating we can successfully stretch beyond our assumed limits. But it too can be time consuming, demanding, never satisfied, and that can burn people out and create a sense of ongoing failure in always reaching for the next step, crushing excitement and delight.
A "doer" (often 180 degrees from an analyzer) creates powerful energy with their goal focus and 'can-do' attitude. But doers can forget to listen, can overwhelm sometimes valid concerns and objections, and can lose the support and buy-in of the team, becoming a dictator rather than a leader.
Intuition can cause those with the gift of that special knowledge to intermediate themselves overmuch between conflicted parties, and be overwhelmed in working to find a common ground. In trying to please all, they may please none—and be resented for their efforts.
So your greatest asset can also be your greatest liability.
But remember, too, that your greatest weakness also can also be a powerful strength!
Oblivious and inconsiderate? You may cheerfully march to your own drum and break new ground for those limited by their fear of what others will think.
Outspoken and obnoxious? You could be a lighting rod, articulating issues others are afraid to voice—and you will have the strength to brush off the criticism and the challenging headwinds you may face.
Quiet and withdrawn? You may see more than others, gain insights, see patterns, and find better pathways to a solution than the loud speakers.
Finding the balance—which is constantly shifting in response to the context—it the challenge and the key.
I don't know how to surf, but that is my visual and my metaphor.