I first listed my strengths as:
- Communication (the ability to express my thoughts and to connect with others through language)
- Problem-solving (being able to imagine helpful responses that can resolve issues and help people move to a “next step”)
- Experience (almost 20 years of living and working with people with autism and Asperger Syndrome, and helping individuals and families succeed)
- Good work ethic, attention to detail, ability to multi-task, and passion for my work
When I moved to listing my weaknesses, or challenges, we talked about the fact that often our strengths can also be considered negatives! Here’s how that looks for me:
- Communication (sometimes I may provide too much information, which can be overwhelming or annoying to others)
- Problem-solving (people don’t always need or want their problems solved; I sometimes need to remind myself that others need to solve their own problems, and I simply need to listen and affirm as they talk about that process)
- Experience (all the experience in the world can’t ever completely prepare me for the next unique individual or family that walks into my life. I need to start at the beginning with each one, using my experience to guide me, and not assuming anything).
- My good work ethic, etc. can sometimes cause me to hyper-focus on my work. Although I am efficient and productive, other things in my life (my family, relaxation, friendships) can suffer unless I am deliberate about striving for balance
Does your list work the same way? Do you have personal strengths that can also be considered weaknesses or challenges?
Consider this…many people, which may include those who are elderly, young children, people with “disabilities,” or those who are economically “disadvantaged,” are described or known through their weaknesses or challenges. The World English Dictionary defines the prefix “dis” as indicating “negation, lack, or deprivation.” Would any of us want to be known only by the things that are difficult for us?
If we adjust our perspective, could those perceived “negatives” also be seen as strengths? Here’s my social “incite” for this week: Let’s try to define people and interact with them in positive terms of who they are, and what they are able to do or contribute, not in terms of what is difficult for them, or what they cannot do!