Finding and expressing the strengths that underlie our weaknesses makes us stronger and truer to ourselves, says Brett Steenberger, in a recent post in Forbes.

He challenges us to think about our weaknesses in a unique way.

We are so quick to identify and try fix our weaknesses. Yet, he points out that the weakness may be hiding a strength that has yet to be harnessed. If we “view our vulnerabilities as a function of unfulfilled strengths… and express the full range of our strengths, we naturally bypass what had appeared as shortcomings.”

For example, how often have you taken all kinds of measures (to do lists, rewards, reframing your attitude about the work, etc.) to stop procrastinating, only to find that you procrastinate more?  Perhaps it is not the procrastination that needs to be fixed. Perhaps it’s a hidden strength behind the weakness that needs to be unleashed.

Attending to the unmet strength that is behind the procrastination can enable us to move forward in a new direction; or carry the task out in a different way that harnesses this strength. For example, the procrastinator may have a hidden strength in doing tasks thoroughly. Once identified then the task could be broken down into smaller components completed more frequently enabling the person to do it more thoroughly without it being overwhelming.

Harnessing strengths is bound to make us truer to ourselves and more present with others, than trying to fix or even hide the weaknesses.

For job seekers, understanding and expressing these strengths is important in steering your search into a position that fits. It will also provide a far more meaningful, genuine, and powerful answer to questions about your weaknesses in an interview.

Wayne Greenway is the Senior Partner with Career Aviators, a national firm that specialises in helping professionals to advance their careers. All profit from Career Aviators is directed to innovative youth leadership initiative in Guelph Ontario.