Public speaker and author David Rendall has a book called The Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness By Flaunting Weakness, which presents the idea that your weaknesses can be flipped to become your strengths. It’s all in how you view what you think are weaknesses and how you treat them. Rendall explains that rather than taking action in spite of your weaknesses, you should find ways in which they can actually be assets.
Rendall tours the country encouraging entrepreneurs and leaders to adopt this mindset. I’ve sat through his presentation a few times, and each time, I’ve come out with new and different perspectives. Here are my top three takeaways from Rendall’s teachings and how I’ve applied them in my own life.
Change the situation, not the person.
You can’t change people. You can compromise or accept them as they are, but you can’t “fix” them. However, you can craft the situation to make it a better fit for that person (without forcing it, of course).
I’ve seen many companies make the mistake of promoting someone from within to a position they’re just not meant for. Rather than forcing them into a position that’s outside their wheelhouse, get them the things they need to be better at what they already do best. In other words, try looking at their strengths and finding the fit that’s best for both them and you. They’ll be happier and more engaged, and your company will run a whole lot more smoothly.
Surround yourself with other strengths.
No profitable business runs without the help of at least some other soul somewhere along the line, and those people who help us are almost always filling in a skill set that we don’t possess ourselves. Why else would we ask for their help? When you’re building a team, think about your strengths and weaknesses. What are you not great at? What characteristics do you lack that you need someone else to fulfill? Conversely, what do you already have or know that would render another person with this same exact skill set useless? It’s almost like putting together a puzzle. Find the people who fill in the gaps and complete the picture of your ideal company.
Cultivate your weaknesses.
The key thing that Rendall says is that your weaknesses are part of who you are, and you should embrace them and amplify them. What he means is that in the same way that you can’t easily improve on your weaknesses, you also can’t easily get rid of them, so why not accept them? As Jean Cocteau is often credited with saying, “Whatever the public criticises in you, cultivate. It is you.”
This is something we all have the capacity to do, but it’s easier said than done because we are constantly advised to suppress those less-than-desired characteristics. The key is to sincerely harness your weaknesses and make them something constructive, something that you can use to your advantage or at least cleverly work around. From there, nothing can stop you from reaching any goal in sight.
Andy Bailey is the founder, CEO and lead business coach at Petra, an organisation dedicated to helping business owners across the world achieve levels of success they never thought possible. With personal experience founding an Inc. 500 multimillion-dollar company that he then sold and exited, Bailey founded Petra to pass on the principles and practices he learned along the way. As his clients can attest, he can cut through organisational BS faster than a hot knife through butter.