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Strengthen your Strengthens, Accept your Weaknesses; Megan Mitchell, SPT

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This past weekend I attended the Women in PT Summit in NYC where I was fortunate enough to be in a room filled with inspiring, successful, kick-ass individuals. The day was filled with TEDTalk-like speeches jam-packed with wisdom and advice. However, there was one that took me by surprise. I hadn’t heard of this concept before and I was surprised by how much it resonated with me.

Strengthen your strengthens and accept your weaknesses

 

The speaker’s point was that you shouldn’t waste precious time and resources doing things that you aren’t good at. It was in respect to owning your own business: how you can easily outsource the things that you aren’t good at, giving you the time to excel and grow other aspects of your business.

However, this concept is not limited to entrepreneurs. We all have a finite amount of time and energy. Why should we try to put ourselves in positions that we aren’t comfortable or competent in? The results are typically always mediocre at best.

Let me give you an example:

In today’s society extroverts are rewarded for being able to speak in front of large crowds, of boldly stating their opinions and for commanding attention. There is a misconception, that to be a leader you need to be comfortable doing that. We have been taught that if you aren’t yet comfortable with that, don’t worry, with time and practice you will be. But what if that day never comes? You’re wasting precious time and energy putting yourself in positions that you won’t ever excel in. We are not all meant to be bold leaders that command the attention of the room. And to try, and end up being just mediocre at it, is a waste of your energy and potential.

Whatever your weakness is, accept it. Move on. You don’t need to waste time trying to become average at something. Instead discover what you are good at. And put your time and energy into that. Excel in it. You will be more successful because you are putting yourself in positions that you enjoy, that you’re already good at. You’re being authentic (another buzz-word from the conference).

I recently had to take a personality quiz and I was less-than pleased with my results. I got “Consul” ESFJ. According to the website Consuls care most about what others think. To me this was my one of my biggest flaws. I hated that I cared what others think and that my actions were often dictated by how I think those around me would like me to behave. I wanted to be that bold leader who could say F-off to whoever doesn’t agree with what I have to say.

Secili DeStefano, the actual Super Woman, gave me advice that changed my entire mindset towards how I view myself and the response I got on that personality quiz. In summary, she made me realize that we all can’t be bold leaders. There needs to be others that are listening to both sides, that care how words and actions make someone feel.

She told me to embrace being a spoon. Spoons have soft edges and are used to serve people. All utensils have a purpose, but a spoon, a spoon doesn’t cut people, it doesn’t have rough edges. It is well-rounded, it doesn’t let things slip through the cracks, it serves.

So really what is the point in me trying to be a bold leader? To my core, not caring what others think makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I could spend years trying to work on not caring, but what’s the point? I can still make an impact while caring about others. I can help to pacify situations, I can listen to both sides and I could use that information to help guide those bold leaders into a direction that might be best for that particular situation.

So embrace who you are. Be authentic. Don’t waste your time or energy on things that make you uncomfortable. Strengthen your strengthens and accept your weaknesses.

 

 Sharon Dunn, PT, APTA President

Sharon Dunn, PT, APTA President

Megan Mitchell, SPT