Turning your weaknesses into your strengths

Turning your weaknesses into your strengths

So between writing about a fitness / lifestyle blog, I do some moonlighting as an academic proof reader.

Maybe I should rewind a bit to give this blog some context. From 2015 – 2016, I studied toward a Masters in Advanced Practice, focussing on challenging personality disorders, as part of my actual work involves treating for such patients. In the process of achieving this high academic achievement, I also experienced my clinical and academic skills become sharpened and enhanced.

What also happened around this time was that I began to help a colleague train toward a nursing degree, which is no easy feat. During helping them with a particular assignment, I revisited the concept of reflective thinking and the SWOT analysis, which is a technique of looking at a person’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It works as a valuable tool to get a better sense of ourselves, and in terms of a personal development strategy for the self or for business management.

It works on the idea of identifying areas of vulnerability and how these areas can be improved upon.

Lets see how this may work in a work scenario. In a supervision between a manager and an employee, they may identify that:

  1. The strength lies in being a good team worker and using initiative.
  2. The weakness may lie in poor time keeping.
  3. The opportunity may be the fact that the work place offers on going training and support.
  4. The threat may lie in personal life factors that may be having an effect on your work performance

It is suggested that weaknesses must be addressed before they become threats, and that work must be done to work on threats before they become debilitating to the emotional and physical health, wellbeing and performance of the person.

In the case of the supervision example, a way to approach the weakness of poor time keeping may be to look at ways to improve time keeping, and a way to address the threats of personal life factors may be to make available talk therapy should the person request this.

Now lets look at it from a lifestyle perspective, and in particular, about health and fitness and weight management. If I look at myself, and you can do this too, my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats look like:

  1. My strength is that I like to learn and read
  2. My weakness is that I may procrastinate at times
  3. My opportunity is that I have a gym membership
  4. My threat is that I like food that is not good for me or my weight management goals

In terms of looking at my weakness, I know that I need to stop making excuses for when I don’t do things.

Stop making excuses. Wake up on time and dont spend time in bed looking at social media updates.

In terms of looking at my threat, I know that I need to research into a diet plan and more importantly to stick to this plan in order to meet my fitness goals. You can see how a threat, if not challenged, has the potential to capsize the health effort itself. It is therefore important that effort is put into tackling these threats before they take over.

I can use my strength of reading and learning to help me to research. But at the same time I need to be mindful as to not procrastinate. So you can see that this is a bit of a back and forth which needs constant work and attention.

And I can also use my advantage of a gym membership and the willingness to read to write exercise plans.

What I would like for you to do now is to have a moment and think about strengths which you may use to take advantage of opportunities, as well as using strengths to avoid threats. From there I would like you to see how you can overcome weaknesses by taking advantage of opportunities, and also how you can make weaknesses smaller by limiting threats.

The thing to take from this I guess, is that we are not limited to the things that stand in front of our paths. Whilst there may be times when these things may be overwhelming, it is important for us to identify our opportunities and our strengths, and to look at ways in which these can be used to challenge and overcome that which are our weaknesses or things that may be a threats to us.

And remember – you are not weak: you are strong.

A bit about the author:I am a guy who is (nearly) 40, who is sharing a journey of weight management and wellbeing.I am also a mental health professional with a wealth of years of experience in supporting individuals who have challenging mental illnesses and personality disorders. Prior to my current professional role, I spent several years supporting members of the community as a fitness professional, assisting individuals with weight loss and health improvement programmes.I completed a PGDip in Mental Health Nursing in 2013, and an MSc in Advanced Practice in 2016 in which I looked at improving nurses’ level of engagement with patients with challenging personality disorders. In 2018 I successfully undertook a Clinical reasoning in Physical Assessments course with the view to start studying toward becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in late 2019.In 2015 I also undertook a Mentorship for practice (BSc Hons) course and have been supporting future nurses with their training and development. I have also recently supported a Healthcare Assistant Staff toward training in and successfully passing and achieving a Foundation Degree in Mental Health Nursing.In my current role I am a person looking to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the individual. As part of my role within the health services in supporting individuals with mental health care needs, I am also currently looking to develop myself as a Wellness Coach, to support the individual with weekly wellness blogs, with the view to support individuals on a 1:1 basis as well as holding motivational lectures and seminars. 

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