Our greatest strengths often start out as our greatest weaknesses.
Once we open ourselves to growth, we understandably focus on our weaknesses. Over time we get stronger and recognize how to turn weaknesses into strengths. And eventually we are able to reach a level of mastery that is often unattainable for areas that are natural strengths.
At one point I was in conflict with my peers so often it felt like a daily occurrence. It was holding me back in my career. As I started to work with a coach I would set goals to increase the length of time between conflicts. (I also had goals to decrease the duration of conflict and the intensity of it.)
In the beginning my goal was literally to have at most one interpersonal conflict per week. It took a year to even hit that modest goal. Over the course of time this window expanded until I finally went an entire half without a conflict. The feedback I now receive during PSC would have been unthinkable seven years ago. People seek me out to resolve conflict. People want to work with me.
It would be going too far to suggest that I am never in conflict, but when it happens now I am acutely aware and conscious of my actions in a way that was previously invisible.
By contrast there are quite a few things I seem to be naturally good at but find much harder to improve upon. If I want to improve, I actually have to open myself up to getting worse. I can then experiment and learn the underpinnings of what made me good in the first place. Only from that base of knowledge can I improve.
By comparison, improving on known weaknesses is a lot more straightforward.
It is important to improve upon our strengths as well as our weaknesses. But I write this note primarily to give hope to those who are struggling. Whatever you want to improve upon you can do it. And someday it may be what you are best at.