Gratitude for Weakness

You hear a lot about strengths. I'm a huge fan of the whole focus on strengths led by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton in their book, Now Discover Your Strengths and followed by Tom Rath and the Gallup folks with their books Strengthsfinder 2.0 and Strengths Based Leadership (by Rath with Barry Conchie).

Before this, as a people we concentrated for more than a generation on our weaknesses. The thought was, if we could  improve our weaknesses, we would be better. The study of Strengths gave us the freedom to move forward, appreciate what we are uniquely gifted to do, and walk in those strengths.

On this Thanksgiving Day, as I consider things for which I'm thankful, I decided this year I need to be thankful for my weaknesses. That's right. I've never appreciated my weaknesses more than I do today. (And I may not be so happy about them tomorrow either, so I figured I'd write some of this down.) I can think of 4 reasons I'm grateful for weaknesses

4 Grateful Attitudes toward Weakness

Weaknesses make me dependent on others. Without my weaknesses, I would never notice the truly great strengths in others. When I'm as objective as I can be, people who are truly gifted at the things I do cause me to express gratitude to be around people better than me. We all need people who are better than we are. Our proper dependence on others (not co-dependence) makes us better.

Weaknesses make me empathetic of others. Were it not for my own weaknesses, I'd judge you. I'm way too quick to judge and criticize others when they are weak where I might be strong. Judgment separates. Strength comes through unity. Weaknesses remind me that no one is perfect, including me, and that makes me more understanding, more credible, and more of a team player.

Weaknesses make me remember my place. Almost as an extension of the empathy point above, no one attracts others when they think more highly of themselves than they should. At our most arrogant, we're also our most repulsive, or at least I am. When I understand where I fit in relation to others and the rest of the world, I'm most productive. My energy doesn't create collateral damage in others. My passion fits, elevates and enables others. "We" (the global, community "we") become more productive when we're each energized by the passion of others. I can't bring my energy to any relationship without offending others unless I accurately know my place.

Weakness makes me strong. When "WE" are strong, I am strong. In fact, I'm never stronger than when I'm united with strong people. People won't share their strength in an environment that is void of trust. Gratitude for others' strengths make me someone they'll join and as a result, I am stronger. The stronger the people are to which I'm rightly connected, the stronger I am. (Note: for Christians, see how this applies to our relation to Christ in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "... power is perfected in weakness.")

Weakness Creates Teams

Weakness makes me someone others will join. Great leaders are joined, not followed. Weaknesses enable sincerity, humility, empathy, gratitude and trust; 5 keys to building great teams. There's nothing like being a part of a winning team.

I'm grateful for my friends and family who have sacrificed to give me the freedom to be involved in Lead Change. I'm grateful for your time in reading this post. I'm grateful to all of the very strong people from all over the world with whom I've connected. And I'm grateful for what you've shared and the opportunity we've shared to make the world better. Thank you.

What about you? Would you take a minute to share what you're thankful for?  Or do you have some other reasons we should be grateful for weaknesses?  Please add your comments below. Discussion makes us all better. Thanks for your participation.

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