Tackle Your Weaknesses

When I was two I almost drowned.

Ever since, water and I have had a strained relationship. I learned to swim when I was nine or ten, but have never liked swimming. I always keep my head above water.

Today, I swam my first set of laps. And tomorrow I plan to swim again.

Last night my friend Jason and I were talking about which exercises keep you in shape as you get older. Swimming and running seemed to be about equal. He swims 2-3 times a week. I just started running after noticing that runners seem to maintain their fitness level the most as they age.

But running has its disadvantages. And even if you run, you should cross-train. And while I recently took up biking as well, swimming was looming at me. A weakness I hadn’t tackled yet. The one that would prevent me from ever being in a triathlon, one of the ultimate tests of endurance.

Today I started to tackle that weakness.

Tackling weaknesses helps us grow. Twenty years ago I lacked basic social skills. But I determined to change that. And through years of practice and reading books on small talk, flirting, body language and networking, I’m decent socially. Others may have natural talent that beats mine, but my earned talent works fine for me.

Being forced to learn sales when starting Lab Escape helped me develop a great appreciation for salespeople and a host of new skills around presentation, persuasion and negotiation. While sales is still a weakness of mine, it’s no longer a great weakness. And being knowledgeable about sales and tech gives me a perspective that most don’t have.

Tackling weaknesses isn’t for everyone. If you’re just starting down the path of personal growth, focus on your strengths and gaining confidence by leveraging those. But once you’ve gotten that confidence, tackling your weaknesses makes you well-rounded and helps you grow. Those who never tackle their weaknesses become caricatures as they get older.

Do you have any stories of weaknesses you’ve tackled?

1 comment

  1. Tami says:

    I think you’ve mastered your social skills. You’re being modest by calling yourself “decent socially.” I can’t recall a time when you didn’t see someone you knew, while walking around downtown with me. And these people greet you with warmth and enthusiasm. This wouldn’t be the case if you were lacking social skills in any way.

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