The Hidden Power of Weakness

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I’ve been living on the weak side of love since my accident on November 20, 2011. I’ll be on the receiving end of compassion for weeks to come. Frankly, total dependence on others is not my preferred form of humility.

Learning to be weak:

It took me a few days to find the strength to be weak.

Being weak isn’t giving up; it isn’t the end of trying. I brag about telling the nurses I could get out of bed myself, even if a trip to the bathroom took 20 minutes. They patiently taught me which movements were permissible and I “aggressively” followed through.

My best efforts, however, don’t compensate for my weaknesses.

  1. The strength to be weak is seeing, accepting, and freely acknowledging personal limitations, without anger or resentment.
  2. Being weak is enjoying the strengths and abilities of others without comparisons or exemptions. Saying, “Normally, I’d do this myself,” diminishes their efforts and contributions.
  3. Weakness lets you highlight the strength of others.

The down side of competence:

Leadership positions are earned through competence not incompetence. You’re competence may, however, blind you to the abilities and successes of others, especially if you are “better” than they are.

Your competence prevents you from celebrating others when you are the standard of praise. The result, you may not offer praise for achievements below yours.

Don’t pretend:

  1. Don’t pretend average is acceptable when excellence is expected. You can, however, celebrate effort and progress.
  2. Don’t pretend you are weak when you aren’t. But let others perform.
  3. Praise what you can. Realize, your praise opens their minds to hear strategies for improvement.
  4. View others through their potential and talents not yours. Help them reach their potential.

The hidden power of weakness is the ability to highlight the strength and potential of others.

How do you balance the tension between celebrating, correcting, and instructing?


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