Interviewers tend to ask about strengths and weaknesses. Like many people, I find these questions difficult.
There’s the difficulty of self-judgment. Have I received sufficient feedback from the world to really understand how I operate?
Then there’s the difficulty of self-representation. Am I conveying the essence truthfully, objectively, succinctly?
If we pay attention to those around us, we’ll receive signals about our strengths. We can compare our perceptions with others’ reactions to form a decent picture.
Weaknesses can be more tricky. Even with the help of others, we’ll ultimately need to confront some irrational, identity-defining fears. Like fear of commitment, over-commitment, failure, or success.
Our brains don’t do well with fear. We seek shortcuts to escape it. We park our car in mediocrity-ville to hide in the crowd. We feel an urge to extinguish the flames just when we start to really boil things down.
The movie Yes Man is a real-life hero’s journey. Jim Carrey’s character says yes to everything. After some extreme fear-confronting, he ends up re-calibrating, arriving at greater self-understanding. This leads to a better life for him and those around him.
It’s a journey, with ups and downs. And it’s necessarily painful.
Growth comes when we have the humility to recognize past experience can be built upon further. We’re always climbing another hill.
The question is, are we going to own the hill we’re climbing, or are we going to bail out and head back down?
Are we training to climb ever-bigger hills, or are we searching for ever-smaller ones?