Una's Blog


Una’s little world 44. Stop with the strenghts and weaknesses!

by Una Hearne.

It is a seriously bad idea to label yourself with a ‘weakness’ and then carry that as if it is who you really are. ‘My problem is I always/ I never…’ ‘I am a terrible…’ As if the way you think and behave is fixed in every situation and for life.

The specific problem with viewing characteristics as strengths or weaknesses is this: every strength can be a weakness and every weakness can be a strength. It totally depends on the situation. For example you might be sensitive and see this as a bad thing, you may have been told it’s weak. You might spend your time suppressing your feelings and acting tough to fit in. This costs huge amounts of energy and denies who you really are. That very sensitivity might make you creative or super empathic. Ignoring these gifts might rob the world of the best of you.

There is a far more useful framework to assess how you are getting along in life and whether there are areas for development. Consider your behaviour in a specific situation – what is the Strategy or Modus Operandi (MO) you are using? And here’s the million dollar question – How is that working for you?

For example, if you have labelled yourself, or have been called, an ‘angry’ person. Is it because you flare up easily and damage relationships all the time? So MO is not working for you at all. Or is it righteous anger about a cause which can provide the energy to drive change and create justice?  Making the world a better place?

You might be a maverick and love to take risks. This might mean you cause havoc and leave a mess in your wake. Or it could mean you are just the entrepreneur needed to start a new venture and drive it to success.

Once you are aware of what is actually going on for you, you have choices. You can work on whatever is not working for you to change what you are doing and therefore the result. And you can appreciate the MOs which do work for you.

Behaviour viewed through the lens of strategies or MOs is far more sophisticated than labelling things as strengths or weaknesses. It puts you in control of your own mind and behaviour in an empowered way instead of giving you a stick to beat yourself up with.


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