Thanks to SLP Runner for posting this great topic and encouraging others to assess their perceived weaknesses (start here to read all the posts). For me this is an easy topic, for I have spent the best part of my life with my soft-white underbelly exposed, focusing on all that I do wrong, both personally and professionally. My motive was to stay in the place I was comfortable, the place that said I was wrong, inept, incompetent. This had great ramifications for me professionally as I tended to believe others valued neither me as a professional nor my work. Of course I wasn't there ALL the time, but enough that my weaknesses were a haze clouding my overall perceptions of my strengths. I recently wrote about how our stories, our past experiences shape the professionals we have become (you can find that post here).
In rereading that post as well as spending the last 50 years realizing my strengths I think that my biggest weakness was fear. Fear of being wrong, fear of having to leave my comfort zone, fear of admitting I didn't have all the answers, fear of not being heard or valued as the all-knowing Speech-Language Pathologist. Fear is insidious and it can take on a life of its own, as it did for me. However, living along side my fear was faith and an ability to be introspective. Those qualities spurred me to soldier on. It's yin and yang, seemingly contradictory and oppositional forces that are also complimentary. My fears yielded courage. My desire to take risks became paramount and superseded any fear of recrimination. My courage allowed me to look inward at the cause of the fear and not be paralyzed by it. The bad news was I was afraid to be a professional who could be wrong. The good news was fear and courage formed a dynamic relationship and courage whittled away at my fears and I learned I didn't have to have all the answers. Ironically, becoming vulnerable made me strong. Being quiet gave me a voice. Yielding gave me power. It is always a good practice for me to look at my skill sets and when I do I always see a juxtaposition of the yin and yang. Fear and courage, silence and voice, vulnerability and power, resistance and surrender. The weakness creates the strength, although the first step should be embracing the weakness and looking at it as the beginning and not the end result. What follows can be liberating!
Growth begins when we begin to accept our own weakness, Jean Vanier