Other than her iconic role as Princess Leia, I didn’t know much about Carrie Fisher. As I watched past interviews of her and read stories about her after her death, I was struck by her openness and willingness to talk about her struggles – with drug addiction, mental illness, and relationships. She spoke about these things, not with shame, apology, and self-criticism but rather she shared them with introspection, curiosity, and humor.
When questioned about her candor and transparency, Fisher said she believed in “saying your weak things in a strong voice.” What a great lesson for all of us. Instead of using your energy to hide your flaws and deny what you may lack, she proposed being willing to own your weaknesses without embarrassment, shame, or defensiveness.
It may sound as if this flies in the face of leveraging your strengths and building on the things you are great at, something that we often talk about. That is certainly important as well, but it doesn’t mean that you should ignore or hide your shortcomings. We all have them and we all can learn from what others are willing to share about overcoming their weaknesses. If, as Carrie Fisher said, we can speak about them in an empowering way, we accomplish several things:
- We make it even more possible to figure out how to address them.
- We invite others to offer guidance and support.
- We take power and control back from those things we are afraid to reveal.
- We open the door for receiving feedback about what is working and what is not.
- We model great qualities of openness, self-awareness, authenticity, and continuous self-improvement.
Owning, voicing, and exploring those areas in which you need to develop are essential steps to turning them into your greatest assets.
How have you “owned” your weaknesses?
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I have been served well by the practice of “Build on your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.” After tremendous effort to become more organized, I realized I never will be very organized, and determined that I needed a top-notch Executive Assistant to handle those parts of my responsibilities. If you don’t know or acknowledge your weaknesses, you can’t address it. If it’s a crucial one, you will be severely limited in your effectiveness, to say the least.
So great to see your comment! Thank you for sharing such a great example of being self-aware and acknowledging where you need support.