I came across one of my favorite quotes this week from Marianne Williamson:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
There is a great deal of wisdom in these words. In the initial reading of this quote, we are reminded that we are powerful and have the ability to accomplish great things. But, I also believe there is an underlying message in these remarks; a message about where we tend to invest our time. The more time I have spent with this quote, and thought about its greater meaning, the more I realize that more often than not, we are better at running away from things than towards them.
We often spend so much time trying to compensate for, or cover up, our weaknesses that we forget to invest time into building and honing our strengths. By doing this we are ultimately investing more time living in our weakness than in our strengths. We can only develop skills by spending time on them, and if we spend our time dwelling on our weaknesses, we are living our life for our weakness; not giving rise to our strengths. Hiding in weakness keeps us comfortable yet unsatisfied; often keeping us in the same place where we feel the need to continue to hide.
To find the power Marianne Williamson describes, we must stop investing time in hiding and focus on building our strengths. If we use our strengths we can find ourselves moving forward, putting us in situations where we can stretch our other skills and abilities. If we use our strengths to push forward, this push can put us in places that will help us stretch our weaker skills. When we stretch our skills, we get better.
Concealing weaknesses will never improve those particular skills. Also, we must understand the effort it takes to cover up weaknesses is exhausting and unbelievably time consuming as we try to hide our imperfections from others.
If you want leverage on growth, find ways to use your strengths. Use those strengths to put yourself in situations where you are willing to be uncomfortable. If we continue to use our strengths to grow in these situations, then we can invest time in improving our weaknesses rather than investing that time in hiding those weakness. One moves you forward; one keeps you stagnant.
As always, it is your choice. You must choose being uncomfortable, you must choose to grow, and you must choose to stop hiding your weaknesses in order to leverage your strengths.