Being confident isn’t about pretending that you don’t have any weaknesses.

None of us is perfect.

The difference between 7 percenters and the other 93 percent, is that they don’t run and hide from their weaknesses. They acknowledge them, do what they can to improve ones that can be overcome and they learn to live with the ones that can’t be changed.

If you constantly try to find your weaknesses, what is likely to happen? First, you’ll be really sensitive when a weakness comes up. You may even go to great lengths to keep others from seeing you in this situation.

Imagine that public speaking is a weakness or yours and your boss wants you to make a presentation to the entire company, including your direct reports. You know that you are currently a train wreck in front of an audience, what might this do to your confidence?

Think this presentation will be on your mind a bit?

What if you do fall apart in front of the entire company, just as you fear you might?

How will this impact your working relationships going forward?

#1: So, the first step is getting real about areas where you’d like to improve. Call them weakness if you like or areas of improvement, just get them down in writing.

#2: Now, make an honest assessment of the list, what can you change, what can’t you change.  Keep in mind that I’m not big on chalking lots of things up to the “can’t be changed” category. For the most part, unless you can really build a case for why it can’t be changed, this is the time to get creative and think about how you might be able to change it.

For example, if a woman thinks she advanced as far as she can, as a woman, in her company, she might be inclined to say that gender is holding her back and that can’t be changed. Alright, I’ll give you that, but her beliefs about the situation can change. And if she doesn’t change those, she can always change where she works. Why would she want to work at a place that doesn’t respect her value as an employee?

So start thinking outside the box and make sure that your assessment of your weaknesses is accurate.

#3: Next, figure out which one of these weaknesses is most detrimental to you professionally. Be honest, even though it’s probably the last thing you want to have to think about, pick the one that you know either is currently or has the potential to hold you back the most.

#4: Then start brainstorming. What can you do to begin to overcome this weakness? Every step you take, no matter how small, in overcoming this weakness will be a boost to your confidence.

It is an incredibly powerful thing to tackle something that truly challenges us.


John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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