In school we learn that it’s best to have no weak spots.
In real life, however, it turns out that acknowledging our weak spots allow us to really let our strengths shine.
Here’s a great example from Transfer Wise (now know as Wise), an international money transfer service, who once published this customer experience on their site (emphasis mine):
“Great exchange rates, much better than the competition. The transfer could be a bit faster. For me it took five business days to get my funds.“
Being razor sharp about the fact that “fast” is a weak spot, Wise gains two things:
Simplified decision making. By focusing on one priority rather than juggling two (or more) priorities, they avoid the struggle to decide which of the two is the real priority for any given situation. “Cheap” is their top priority, not “fast”. Always. Whenever they face a choice between two services, one of which is quicker while the other is cheaper, the decision makes itself.
Clear positioning. By being upfront about their priority they filter their customers. If you care for fast, they might not be for you, but if you care for cheap, they clearly are.
Even more: By surfacing their weak spot, they reinforce their strong spot. They will compromise everything else for being the cheapest and they have no problem telling you so.
It’s about time to ditch the school approach to weaknesses.
Nobody’s perfect in a wider range of areas. Nobody can be.
Pretending to be is lying (in the worst case, even to yourself).
Acknowledging our weaknesses, even embracing them, allows us to let our strengths shine. When we can’t have it all, then setting a priority, doing it consciously, and being upfront about it, is – in my experience – a much healthier approach than trying to hide our weaknesses.
(And while we’re at it, why not stop associating “weaknesses” with failures.)