What did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? As for me, I dreamt of being a flight attendant. The idea of traveling and meeting people around the world and experiencing new adventures was exciting. Fast-forward to now, as a Career Counselor, I know that the flight attendant path simply wasn’t for me. Most airlines have a height requirement for this position which, at 4’10”, I did not meet. This was a weakness I knew I had and this limitation did not allow me to pursue my childhood dream job, however, it did teach me valuable lessons to keep moving forward. If I had let my weaknesses dictate how I established myself as a professional in the future I wouldn’t be where I am today. So how does one overcome personal, academic, and career-related weaknesses and flip them into strengths?
In middle school, I almost did not pass music class. I always tried my best to do well in school and strive for good grades, so when my music teacher sat me down and told me in order to save my grades I had to write a 5-page essay on Stevie Wonder, I did not turn it down. To my surprise, I ended up enjoying researching and reading about Stevie Wonder’s musical story and learned of how remarkable and talented he is. I knew that even though I struggled reading musical notes, I was going to pass the class with my ability to read, research and put an essay together under pressure.
In high school, I struggled with topics in the Sciences. I could barely grasp the context of each lesson and was scared that Biology could be my undoing. When it came to class selection, I did some investigating and realized Zoology could count as my science requirement. My ability to memorize classifications and kingdoms helped me devote more time to each subject matter. I passed the class, enjoyed the lab activities which came with it and did not need to take Biology after all.
A few years ago I took the U.S. Naturalization test and passed with flying colors. This was no easy task. I am no expert in U.S. government and civics, however, I took the time to study all of my materials. There were over 1,000 questions based on the U.S. government and history. I used flash cards and tested myself daily for two hours, roughly 3 months straight. Thankfully, I had developed a strong ability to prioritize and strengthen my study habits after graduating from college. It was easier when I could put all of my focus into studying for this big exam. My hard work and dedication yielded positive results.
I am not a competitive person, I do not play sports well and I did not excel in PE class back in high school. However, I have recently discovered a new interest in running. I truly enjoy running as a hobby because of the freedom I have with finding my own pace. I am competing against myself and to me, the pressure isn’t nearly as bad as competing against others. The benefit of this is I am setting my own goals and have the self-motivation to reach it.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is a crucial part of finding your career and life path. It is relatively easy once you accept what they are and choose to run with them, in my case literally. Once you identify what these are it will dramatically help point you towards the right direction in your future endeavors.