Turn your 4 biggest weaknesses into your 4 biggest strengths
I am the master at nurturing reasons for why I am stuck and things can’t be done. I had pretty good reasons too: reasons for why life was over before it had really started and why I could use all my mental energy on being angry at those who put me in this situation!!
Here are mine:
1. I was raised in a cult – this didn’t give me skills for life, knowledge about how to find a job, the ability to look after money or plan for my future.
2. No education – It wasn’t seen as important to get an education higher than Year 3. This means I had no paper to evidence that I could get a job or plan for my future.
3. Became a parent too young – At 23 I was a parent with no knowledge about what to expect. When you live in communes there’s a sense that someone will always be there. The real world was lonely, isolated and pressured – I had no idea what I was doing and no way to get that education or job that I spoke about before.
4. Addiction – I had every right to drink myself into oblivion. Did you not read points 1 to 3?!!
What choice did I have??
What are your top 4 reasons for why you can’t live your dream, make money, travel, have a relationship or do the job you always loved. List them … go on, this is the easy part! You’ve memorised your reasons already.
It was through hitting rock bottom and my first waking thought being that I wanted my life to end. I had to ask myself: Is this the only way?
Is living with shame, blame, fear and anger the only way? Had it gotten me anywhere different in the 5 years that those emotions were my truest friends? If these are your dearest most trustworthy companions that you don’t want to let go of, then stop reading, you won’t like what I’m going to say next.
You have a choice!
You can choose to fill your mind with new possibilities and turn your 4 greatest weaknesses into your 4 greatest strengths.
The way to do this is:
1. Become an expert on your area of weakness
2. Imagine if your weakness was a strength, how would that impact the rest of your life?
3. Make a choice to do one thing today that’s different to how you usually think or behave
This is how I chose to reframe my excuses:
1. Being raised in a cult gave me a unique perspective on the world and the ability to empathise with people from all different backgrounds and lifestyles.
2. I educated myself and made learning and curiosity my biggest ambition in life. I studied one day a week, I studied at night, at 4 a.m. and on the weekends. I now have a Masters degree. If you want something badly enough you just go and do it.
3. Parenting – While I spent years resenting my kids and my role as a parent, I also read every book there was, talked openly to other parents, tried to understand how other people enjoyed it and wrote my dissertation on the impact of young parents who left cults. I went in depth, I learned about myself and now I’m seen as a parenting expert in my coaching and counselling business.
4. Addiction – Now you’re not going to like this one. For me I realised that the cycle of drowning my sorrows was really just drowning me. I had to give up drinking all together in order to open my eyes to the possibilities in life. This isn’t just about alcohol though, we’re all addicted to things: shopping, sugar, porn, social media, running away from problems. So pick yours and ask yourself ‘is this how I want my life to be defined? When I’m on my deathbed what do I want people to say about me? Do I want them to say I was brave or that I was foolish?’ Now make a choice. If you want to leave a different legacy then the one that you’re building then make a conscious choice: get help, talk to people and make the small changes now. If you can change one thing every day you will have changed 365 things in a year and be on a path to a whole new life.
If you do the same thing you’ve always done you’ll stay the same. My message to you and one that I tell all my clients is: Get Curious about your life. Stop hiding in routine, fear and excuses. Wake up and audit your life and decide if that’s the way you want it to be. If it is, then good on you. If it isn’t, then don’t let inertia be the thing that stops you living your dreams.
Design your story.