“Weaknesses are just strengths in the wrong environment.” –Marianne Cantwell

My first reaction when I read this was, “Wait, what?!” It caused me to have so much excitement and confusion all at once. My brain still smokes as it whirls through the truth and possibility in her statement. I have a lot of moments I categorize as weak. I have even more characteristics and traits that I would categorize as weaknesses more than strengths and I think we all do. We are our own harshest critic, after all.

While there are many times my sarcastic humor feels more like a weak defensive strategy, there are other situations where it eases people into a comfortable moment allowing them to open up and be who they really are. I’m also an “out of the box” thinker which in many situations helps to find solutions hidden to a more traditional thought process. This can be a weakness, though, when logic is needed to solve the crisis and my brain is going too many directions at once.

I guess strengths and weaknesses are much like telling jokes and stories – we have to know our audience. If we know the situation, the people, and the environment, we can see where our strengths are weaknesses, and vice versa. Seems to me that the key to differentiating between strengths and weaknesses is self-awareness. Learning who we are, how we are and where we are.

See the moment, see ourselves, and find the strength. This is the key.

Sarah Deats

Sarah Deats is the Arizona Outpatient Support Services Manager at RI International and the Hope Inc. Stories Inspiration Engineer. Her goals are to make a connection with everyone that she can while building community, spreading hope, and sparking change. She believes that while life may not be easy, it is never lived alone.