A balance beam is not easy to walk on. As you walk across, your weight pulls you from one side to the other, making it very easy to fall. Our strengths and weaknesses can have the same effect on us, pulling us to the extreme of focusing mostly or solely on one or the other. Its not easy, but I believe that we should look to take a balanced approach toward our strengths and weaknesses.
What does this mean?
Taking a balance approach means that you strengthen your weaknesses, without weakening your strengths.
Identify your strengths and make those the core of who you are. Never lose sight of them and never wander away from them! Identify the weaknesses that you can (and “should” for some of them!) gradually improve upon. Identify weaknesses that you’ll just need to learn to accept.
These can refer to job competency/skills, life skills, character traits, personality, hobbies, etc.
One way of imagining this is to think of a star.
If a triangle symbolizes a strength, then a star has many strengths. However, the tips of the star don’t converge at the center like a multitude of lines touching a single point. Rather, each tip (or “triangle”) flattens out as it heads toward the center, to form the body of the star. This body refers to our weaknesses. And just like you can improve upon certain weakness, you can add more tips to a star (or grow them from the center), with some longer than others.
Here’s a personal example to help illustrate what I mean.
I’ve identified that some of my strengths are: preaching, getting tasks done, and leading a team. As such, I don’t think I’ll be switching careers into the fashion industry or research fields. Those are not related at all to my strengths
Some weaknesses that I have that I think I can improve upon is my bad memory, my disposition for procrastination (emails, work, etc) and my counseling abilities. As a result, I’m working on improving my memory by using Evernote, I am working replying to emails as soon as I get them and I am taking a class on the basics of counseling here at seminary. Some weaknesses that I will just have to accept is a short attention span, and a lack of any sense in décor.
Last semester, the Graduate Life Council here at seminary put together a chapel where we surprised and honored our professors. We had awards for them, people brought in food and it was just a big event. While I was the visionary and the one in charge of the event, I did not touch any details concerning the decorations or the food. Since I am detail and task oriented, I merely handled the emails, the chapel schedule, etc. If I had taken on the responsibilities of decor, I’d have just ordered pizza and put it on a table for everyone. Instead, we put this task in the hands of others who were more competent (and artistic) than I. As a result, we had a wide variety of food, table cloths, balloons, decorations, etc. Additionally, instead of just reading off the awards to the professors, they were written on paper plates with gold spray paint! They were awesome! They did a great job that was much better than anything I could have done.
All that to say, remain true to your strengths, work gradually on weaknesses that you can improve, and be content to live with weaknesses that you can’t.