I saw this meme on social media today, and it reminded me of a huge discovery I made that changed how I saw the world.
See, I’ve been an outlier all my life. As a kid, I was a dreamer. My mother told me to get ready for school only to come back five minutes later to find me with one sock halfway pulled up, staring off at nothing. I stayed a kid as long as humanly possible, despite high school graduation. As much as I adore people, I’d rather read. I’m a klutz. Seriously. I broke my foot once, falling upstairs. I’m the one in a party who says things that I should keep inside, only I don’t realize it until I see it on the face of my audience. My way of learning is to ignore advice, discover all the ways that won’t work, until I stumble upon the way that will.
I held these things and more as my secret shame all my life. Until I didn’t.
What changed? I realized that, whereas they are seen as weaknesses by the general public, most of them are exactly what I needed to become a writer.
They’re my strengths.
Dreamer=imagination. Picturing people and worlds that don’t exist, but should.
Staying a kid=perspective. Seeing the world through the eyes of wonder and putting that on a page.
Reading=drive. I’ve read so many books that made me want to be that good. They push me to be better every single day.
Awkward=empathy. You have to get into flawed characters’ backstories and motivation to build empathy for your characters. I understand flaws down to my bones.
Blurting=honesty. Sometimes you feel something so deeply that you want to explain it so others can understand. Okay, so a party may not be the best venue for that, but when it wants out, there is no stopping it.
Failing=persistence. Probably my greatest strength. I once had a boss tell me that I learned slowly, but once I figured it out, I never made a mistake again. I GOT it. I survived 417 rejections before I signed with an agent. I wanted it, and I figured if I kept breathing and learning, I had to get there eventually. It’s science.
It took me many years of struggling before I learned to embrace my weaknesses. Many more to embrace them. Now I see them as my strengths. I just had to find the right career to take advantage of them.
And being me, I had to find all the wrong ways first.
But what an amazing life that’s made! Not to mention the plots…
What are your weaknesses? Try a paradigm shift – how are they your strengths?