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“Sometimes I think my weaknesses are holding me down.”

Have you tried soaring with your strengths?

Jonathan Swift wrote,

“Although men are accused of not knowing their own weaknesses, yet perhaps few know their own strengths. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not of.”

What would it be like to find and mine your “vein of gold”?

In their book, Soar With Your Strengths, Clifton and Nelson tell the story of the Chinese Olympic Table Tennis team. Their key player was a man with a very powerful forehand but a weak backhand. The coach tried to help him strengthen his weakness, but the more they worked on the backhand, the more discouraged the player became, and the worse he played.

Finally, the coach quit working on his weakness and encouraged him to simply focus on the power of his forehand shots. And he won the gold medal!

Sometimes a weakness is actually a strength in disguise. Mark struggled for years as a standup comedian. He was very self-conscious about his looks. He had virtually no chin and big ears that stuck out like satellite dishes!

One day a friend suggested that, for a comedian, his looks were actually an asset. So he started talking about his looks in his standup routine.

He would stand in front of the crowd and, as they giggled, say:

“I know what you’re thinking!” (Nervous laughter.)

“I’ll have you know I was once a model!” (More laughter.)

“I modeled socks!” (Even more laughter.)

“On the radio!” (Great laughter.)

After he started using his looks in his routine, his career took off. He had discovered that what he thought was a weakness was actually his “vein of gold.”