Turn Your Career Weaknesses Into Strengths


More inspiration from producer/ career consultant Suzanne Lyons:

1) YOU WANT CURVES? TRY THE LEARNING CURVE!

Back in the mid-80s I was one of the first women in TV to break the glass ceiling, and at 29 I was a VP. I’m not saying I wasn’t terrified, I was, but I wanted the challenge. What I noticed is that the more at risk I was… the more challenging the job, the more I came face to face with the areas where I was weak. Put yourself at risk like that. It’s like putting yourself under a magnifying glass. You will see clearly the areas that need attention… the areas that need to be strengthened.

2) SPEND 5% OF YOUR INCOME ON PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH

At 29 in the mid-80s I knew I wasn’t trained to be in management. But instead of shrinking from the opportunity and the responsibility I looked for workshops, books, mentors… anything and anyone that would help me grow. I’d heard that professional business people put aside a percentage of their income for this purpose, so I invested time and money into programs like self-assertive training, stress management seminars, time management courses, and other workshops that pinpointed the areas that were my weakest.

3) WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE?

I’m very present to people’s fears and just how frequently we let our fears get in the way of our goals and dreams. The coaches and I encourage the participants to take on big goals and we see each student as bigger than who they see themselves to be. This often pushes them right up against their fears. But, when they get that they are the one in charge of their life and that they get to say the way it’s going to be, it helps the fear dissolve and allows them to step into the bigger picture. Maryanne Williamson said it best in her quote “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world… we are born to manifest the glory that is within us.”

4) COMPLAINTS… WHAT DO THEY REALLY MEAN?

My coach used to say that if I complained about something more than once (which I did with frequency) I was doing it to get off the hook. Of course I argued with her, but the more that I started to notice it and catch myself complaining about one thing or another, the more I realized I was using it as a crutch. I didn’t have to move forward, or get bigger, or risk or take on whatever that new challenge was, because I could stay stuck in my complaint. The interesting thing was that I used to look for agreement to help justify my complaint (my opinion) and I’d always find it. I’d make sure I had people around me who agreed with me, which unfortunately only perpetuated my story of what was wrong, what wasn’t working, putting the spotlight on the drama, keeping me stuck and playing small. Look to see where you might be doing that.

5) PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING

There is a great quote that explains this one perfectly, “The way you choose to see the world creates the world you see.” Start to watch how quickly you jump to a decision about someone or something without thinking… really thinking. Just begin to observe and listen to yourself next time it happens.

6) WHAT STORY ARE YOU TELLING?

Is the story you’re telling empowering you or disempowering?… Is it positive or negative?… Is it inspiring or discouraging? I think for the most part we’re not really aware of just how much and how frequently we tell the story of what’s not working, what’s wrong, what I can’t do, what they did to me, etc. Begin listening to yourself and if the story you are telling is not empowering you, stop, or put a new spin on it and make it empowering! This is an incredible exercise. You’ll love it.

7) IDENTIFY AND MAKE NOTE OF YOUR WEAK AREAS

Author Jim Collins, in his book “Good to Great,” talks about disciplined thought. He suggests that we need to “have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of our current reality, whatever they might be.” I realize his book is about and for companies, but I believe each of us is a business, especially here in the entertainment industry. We are the president of our company and it’s important that we look for and identify our weak areas. What are those areas for you?

8) GET BIGGER… IT’S WORTH IT

Oddly enough the bigger you get, the more unwilling you are to argue for your limitations. Years ago I took on a three month volunteer role of having 300 people at a huge satellite event about ending hunger. Taking on something that challenging had me come face to face with my shortcomings. But I didn’t run from them or cover them up. The event and the purpose of the event was bigger than me and bigger than my fears and insecurities, so to rise to the occasion I had to face those weak areas… lack of confidence, time management issues, fear of failure, leadership concerns and more. I faced them, worked on them and got bigger.

9) THE BIG PICTURE

Another take on Tip #8 is to look at the big picture in all areas of your life. One of the tools I use personally and that I teach in my “Creating Your Best Year Ever” workshop is a Vision Board. Use pictures, images, drawings, symbols, anything you want that will help you focus on your dreams, vision, purpose and desires. When you stand in your commitments and desires you are far more willing to take on getting bigger… it becomes a natural effortless process. As speaker and author Chuck Gallozzi said “Once we yield to this inclination for continuous and never-ending improvement, we lead a life of endless accomplishments and satisfaction.”

10) TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS

I know you’ve heard this a million times. I’ve heard it a million times too, but it’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve tried it and guess what… it works. You know in your heart where you need and want to expand and grow. Start paying attention to your instincts, to your feelings, to your gut response. We were born with a perfect guidance system, I think we’ve just forgotten how to use it. Get back in touch with it… breathe, meditate, visualize, relax, take a time-out for yourself. As poet George Bernard Shaw said “Life is no ‘brief candle’ for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” So strengthen your weakness and have the brilliant magnificent life you are meant to have.

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