Identifying your strengths and weaknesses

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As adults the majority of us are well aware of our strengths and weaknesses.  We can put on a good show and even fool others but we cannot lie to ourselves.  We may choose not to admit the weaknesses to others for fear of appearing weak or vulnerable.

Your weaknesses should in no way hinder you but be a work in progress. Especially if you need to develop on your weakness in order to excel in your field or if it is having an unhealthy effect on the way you view yourself.

Starting with the positives first, my strengths are;

1. Consistent

2. Loyal

3. Articulate 

4. Organised

5. Problem solver

My two weaknesses (I deliberately chose just a few – trust me, there are more!)

1. Perfectionist 

2. Self-critical 

I recall studying mathematics at secondary (high) school.  I was able to do general calculations but anything like complex algebra went way over my head and to be honest it still does. I accepted defeat and felt an element of shame that I just could not grasp it. Do you know I even retook the following year to receive the exact same grade – who does that?!!

At times it niggles at me that I do not ‘get’ complex mathematics and on occasion I have questioned my intelligence because of it.  I am slowly learning that I cannot expect to excel in everything. I remind myself that I have major strengths in other areas. 

This quote by Melchor Lim sums it up;

“Every one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, it is only when you accept everything you are and are not, that you will truly succeed”. 

Can you easily identify your strengths and weaknesses?

How important is it for you to work on your weaknesses?

How comfortable are you in discussing these with others?

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30 thoughts on “Identifying your strengths and weaknesses”

  1. Being a formal military man, I understood this concept from my teachings of Sun Tzu, he wrote “Know you enemy, know yourself”, the context of his book, “The Art of War”, of course is set for conflict, but it also can be adopted for everyday life. The most important thing he points out consistently is to have an understanding of who you are, your strengths and weaknesses. I know as for myself, I have to constantly view myself with objective eyes, so I can know my weaknesses so I can approve upon them.

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  2. Oh my, ‘The Perfectionist’ – How so many of us can relate to that and yet we can never achieve it. Mind you,in the lines of a beautiful song ‘True perfection has to be imperfect’. Great post, thank you 🙂

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  3. I think that is what makes us more comfortable in our own skin as we get older. We have finally figured out what our strengths are and are playing to them. When you are younger you are still trying to figure out what you are good at and where you fit in. When you are older you KNOW and put those skills front and center. And you are no longer trying to excel at things that are just not your cup of tea. You probably tried and failed enough times by then to say, no thanks, I pass on that and go to where you shine.

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  4. Phoenicia this is so important for us to know both. In particular I’ve learned to lead with my strengths in almost anything I do, rather than try to improve a weakness. It takes so much less energy to come from strength and usually, results are better!

    Thanks for the wise quote!

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  5. Well, I totally relate to your issues with Mr. Math. I’m very thankful for the invention of the pocket calculator! It’s definitely one of my greater weaknesses, but I don’t even attempt to hide it. As a writer, I don’t have to call on my math skills much, but I do have to call on my creative skills, as well as problem solving, and negotiation. I think the older you get, the more comfortable you are with who you really are!

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  6. I often refer to myself as a ‘recovering perfectionist’ so yep, right there with you Phoenicia. Certainly I agree it’s important to be aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses, but also I believe we have to be realistic about how much energy we should invest in overcoming a particular weakness (real or perceived), and whether our energy might be better used focusing on our strengths. It’s a balancing act and in the end it just depends on how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together to help us achieve our best life. Thanks for the advice and inspiration!

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  7. I have the same two weaknesses as you. I feel like they do hold me back because, if things aren’t perfect, I often quit. I’ve actually identified that in myself, so I’m better at picking myself up from failure than I used to.

    You have your story about your struggles with math. I somehow got math from a young age, but I really struggled with other things like spatial relations. Well, they had me take this spatial relations drawing test at the beginning of first grade, and all I did was cry because I sucked at it, and I wanted to be doing math. Well, I failed the test because I was too busy crying to take the test. The result was I got pulled out of my class and moved into special ed. Oops, I guess it was an I.Q. test. The funny thing is I actually had to change schools because they refused to retest me! There’s the downside of being a perfectionist for you

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  8. Hey Phoenicia,

    I like to think that I have way more strengths than weaknesses but I do have a good bit of weaknesses too. I think to not let them hold us back is what shows true character. We’re not afraid to keep moving forward and not let those hold us back.

    I appreciate you writing this and sharing with us what yours are. Some of them that is.

    Have a wonderful week.

    ~Adrienne

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    1. Adrienne – I too believe in listing more strengths than weaknesses. I am able to open up about my weaknesses because they have no hold over me. It was actually quite therapeutic putting it into words.

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  9. To know thyself is the first step in understanding others. I am very open about acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses although I don’t believe there is any value in self recrimination. For the record, like you, I do not function on the complex mathematical side of my brain but I excel in other areas and I am in awe of the wondrous gifts and abilities I have been given. Our diversity is such a blessing. It is how we serve one another which is why we are here.

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  10. It’s essential for growth to not only recognize your weaknesses, but make an effort to tackle them…particularly if you feel they are holding you back in some way. But let’s face it…who among us is perfect? And if have to learn to accept that too.

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  11. Great post! Thanks for sharing your weaknesses. One of my weaknesses is impatience. It’s had for me to stay with something too long unless I am truly interested in it.

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    1. You are welcome Sabrina.

      You can work on your patience or shall I say, patience can work you! There will always be situations in your life that will test your patience.

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  12. I think it is important to understand our own strengths and weaknesses. What is interesting though is that often they are two sides of the same coin. Our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness depending on degree and situation. Learning to recognize that and strike a balance can make us so much stronger.

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