Oct 1, 2019
Ep 83: Develop Self-Awareness and Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths
I’ve always been a huge fan of personality assessments. DISC, Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder—they all fascinate me. I love reading the results of these different assessments because they’re usually pretty positive. You get an entire report that focuses on your strengths—who wouldn’t have fun reading that?
Well, earlier this year, my friend Rachel Cruze convinced me to take a different kind of personality assessment: the Enneagram. I took the test, not expecting to learn anything new about myself.
But y’all, I was so wrong. This assessment was so different from any other I’d ever taken. Rather than telling me what I was good at, this assessment revealed all of my weaknesses (Some I didn’t even know I had!), and the deeper motivations and fears associated with those weaknesses.
Not only did I feel like there was finally a personality assessment that truly understood me, but I also felt like it helped me understand myself better. Learning about the Enneagram has been transformational for me. It’s made me so much more self-aware. And you know what? Knowing your weaknesses and being self-aware is one of the best gifts you can give to both yourself and those around you.
What Is Self-Awareness?
Being self-aware is about knowing your strengths and your weaknesses. For example, self-awareness is about knowing how you come across to others—not just your intentions, but how you actually come across. I’ve noticed a pattern in my life where people describe me as being intense and aggressive.
But here’s the thing: I don’t intend to be aggressive, and I don’t think I’m intense. I describe myself as enthusiastic and passionate. I’d never use the words intense or aggressive. But you know what? After hearing enough people use those words to describe me, I started to pay attention. It turns out, intense and aggressive is how I come across to other people.
Do you know what paying attention to those patterns did for me? It gave me a better understanding of how I actually come across to people so I could learn to adjust my tone, behavior or volume level based on who I’m talking to.
It’s pretty easy to be self-aware when it comes to our strengths, isn’t it? And it’s important to know what your strengths are so you can leverage them in your life and your business. But I want to spend this episode talking about the other side of the coin: what we should do with the not-so-good stuff.
Three Ways to Become More Self-Aware
We all have blind spots. You know what a blind spot is, right? Think about when you’re driving in the car and want to change lanes. You slowly start to get over and all of a sudden you’re swerving back into your lane while someone blares their horn at you because you almost hit them.
But you had no idea the car was there—it was in your blind spot. And that’s exactly what our weaknesses can be like for us—we’re not even aware they exist. But if we’re going to succeed in life and business, we have to be as familiar with our weaknesses as we are with our strengths.
So, let’s talk about three things you should do with your weaknesses:
1. Recognize your weaknesses.
I spent so many years unaware that I can come across as aggressive or intense—it was definitely one of my blind spots. If we want to mature, improve our relationships, and become more pleasant people, we have to recognize exactly what our weaknesses are so that we can work on them (more on that later). So how can you recognize some of your own blind spots?
- Pay attention to patterns and themes around what people say about you.
- If you don’t notice a pattern, ask people you love and trust.
- Take a personality assessment like the Enneagram or DISC.
2. Acknowledge your weaknesses.
Once you recognize your weaknesses, I want you to call them out. Own them and be up-front about them. That’s not to say you have to broadcast your weaknesses to the world, but when you sense you’re acting out of a weakness or you’re coming across in a negative way, go ahead and call it out. If you’re with someone, acknowledge it so they don’t have to.
Related: Say What They’re Thinking
Here’s what’s so amazing about this: When you acknowledge that you’re aware of your weakness, it completely disarms the other person. They feel immediate relief because they no longer feel the pressure to call you out. If you simply acknowledge where you’re coming from and the weaknesses that are influencing your reaction, it’s amazing how beneficial it will be to yourself and the other person.
3. Work on your weaknesses.
Being self-aware of your weaknesses doesn’t mean you’re off the hook to act however you want to act. You don’t get to use your weakness as a pass for your behavior.
If your weakness is time management, and you acknowledge that, you don’t get an automatic excuse to be late everywhere you go. If you struggle with a short temper, you don’t get to say, “This is just who I am,” every time you blow up on someone.
We all need to work on our weaknesses, mature, and become better human beings in the world. But we can’t do that if we don’t actively work on our weaknesses. For me, I’m learning to be quiet, submit and respect authority, apologize more quickly, and let others lead.
So, what weakness do you need to take personal responsibility for? What do you need to commit to working on this week? Friend, there’s no shame in this. You’ll improve every relationship and interaction in your life when you work on weaknesses.
Working on your weaknesses is a long and difficult journey. But if you will commit to recognizing them, acknowledging them, and working on them, I promise you’ll not only become a more self-aware person, but you’ll also become a more mature, well-rounded, and pleasant person to be around.
Becoming Self-Aware Through the Enneagram with Ian Cron
I’m so excited to introduce you to my guest today, Ian Cron! He’s the bestselling author of The Road Back to You (a book I personally love that has transformed my life) and a master teacher of the Enneagram. On this episode, Ian and I talk about:
- How the Enneagram is different from other personality assessments
- The difference between self-knowledge and self-awareness
- The importance of being aware of your weaknesses and the underlying motivations
- How to navigate relationships with people who aren’t self-aware
Challenge: It’s Not the Thought That Counts
As a speaker and author, I’m always trying to find ways to say something unique. I want to say something new that hasn’t been said before because—let’s be honest—the world is full of overused cliché phrases.
Let’s just go through a few examples, shall we?
Finish these sentences in your head: Where there’s a will, there’s a . . . Don’t put all your eggs in one . . . It’s the thought that . . .
Here’s the thing about these cliché phrases: Most of them are overused because they’re true—except that last one. Who came up with “It’s the thought that counts?” And who’s used the phrase so much it’s lived on for centuries? I’ll tell you who: People who don’t do anything.
“Oh, it’s the thought that counts,” said every person ever who hasn’t followed through on their intentions. It’s not the thought that counts. My husband’s birthday is coming up, and there’s not a chance in the world he’ll be bragging the day after his birthday about what I thought about doing for him. He’s not going to be like, “Oh, my wife, she was going to get us tickets to my favorite concert, but she never got around to it. She never made reservations for dinner or booked a babysitter. But hey, she thought about it!”
Related: Ep 34: Excuses That Steal Your Time
Speaking of cliché quotes: The road to hell is paved with good intentions! No one cares what you think about. They care what you do.
Your thoughts don’t change your relationships. Your actions do. Your thoughts don’t change your business. Your actions do. Your thoughts don’t reach your goals. Your actions do.
So, here’s the deal: It’s not the thought that counts. It’s what you do that counts. It doesn’t matter what you know. It matters what you do with what you know.
Do you have an idea? Great. What are you going to do about it? Do you have a dream? Great. What are you going to do about it? Do you have a plan? Great. What are you going to do about it?
Y’all, when you actually start to take action on your ideas, implement what you’re learning, and do something with what you know, feel and dream in your heart, you really will be chasing your dream. You really will be building a business. You really will be creating a legacy. You really will be making an impact and changing the world. Stop thinking about it and go do it.
1:22 What Is Self-Awareness?
6:32 Three Ways to Become More Self-Aware
18:53 Becoming Self-Aware Through the Enneagram with Ian Cron
40:56 It’s Not the Thought That Counts
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Ian Cron’s iEQ9 Enneagram Assessment
If you have a success story you would like to share with the Business Boutique community, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. New podcast episodes are available every other week.