Do Your Flaws Drag You Down?
There is one very scary interview question which has probably, at one time or another, caused you to tremble in your socks, bite your lip and anxiously glance from side to side. What is the question, you ask? Its the frightful “What is your greatest weakness?” question.
This question tripped me up so much in my Frame of Mind Coaching interview with Kim and Allan, that I ummed and ahhhed for about five minutes before awkwardly turning the tables and avoiding the question by asking them “What are your greatest flaws?”
We use many tactics to hide our flaws in both our professional and personal lives, because admitting them makes us feel imperfect and vulnerable. We give our flaws a great deal of power over our lives every day.
Just last week, Kim was cleaning out her office when she handed me some loose sheets of paper. “Here, you can have these,” she said. “These are the notes I took when I called your references, when we were contemplating hiring you.”
I anxiously skimmed the notes and I came across some of the weaknesses that were brought up. Feeling very exposed, I internally reacted with denial and irritation. “I cant believe they said that about me,” I thought. I asked Kim to clarify some of the comments and she explained, “You’re focusing on the wrong thing.” It was true. When I reread the notes, I noticed that the comments were overwhelmingly positive, yet I had automatically zoomed in on the negative.
The more we think about our flaws and focus on them, the more power we give to them. If you are directionally challenged, and each time you leave your house you think, “I suck at directions, I am bound to get lost,” chances are you will get lost. If you struggle with technology and each time you work on a project you think, “Something’s bound to go wrong,” well, it isn’t a huge surprise when something does go wrong.
When we feed our flaws, they become more pronounced and persistent. When we look for ways in which we can fail, our flaws turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In the midst of our embarrassment and denial over our shortcomings, we often forget that there is a flip-side to every flaw. Chances are, if you are an impatient person, you are also very good at taking initiative. If you are a slow worker, you are probably very thorough. If you are an attention seeker, you are most likely good at public speaking. By finding the strength in your flaw, you can begin to embrace it. It is an exciting concept that our flaws can shine light on our strengths.
Another way to embrace our flaws is by re-labelling them. We continue to accentuate our flaws by merely naming them as our flaws. How would you feel if you labelled all of your weaknesses as quirks instead? Suddenly they don’t seem so bad, right? The characteristics we deem unlovable and problematic often make us attractive and interesting. They are defining parts of our personality that make us unique.
I thought I had busted my Frame of Mind Coaching interview big time with the fretted weaknesses question. Yet two weeks later, I received an unexpected call from Kim. “We’d love to hire you. When can you start?” she said.