Edison developed hearing problems at an early age, as a result of several boyhood misfortunes. Some historians say his deafness could be attributed to a bout of scarlet fever, while others tell the story about how he suffered a blow to the ears by an angry train conductor, while other sources cite a chemical fire in his basement laboratory. But regardless of which origin story is accurate, one thing can be verified. The great inventor spent the majority of his life completely deaf in his left ear, and eighty percent deaf in his right. But that disability never deterred his enthusiasm. Quite the opposite, in fact. His biographer explains how he slyly turned his weakness into a tactical advantage. The loss of one of his most vital senses was sometimes represented by him as an asset. Tom was spared a great deal of the vexation suffered by persons of normal hearing and, was the more able to concentrate his thoughts, or think something through without interruption. Which of your weaknesses could become an advantage?
LIMITATION LEVER -- Turn your weaknesses into assets and tactical advantages
Do you have a limitation that might help you focus better than the competition? Perhaps you have a mild case of attention deficit disorder. That may make you a brilliant project manager, able to juggle multiple balls at one time, or keep your team in line who's working on an initiative with a lot of moving parts. Or maybe your physical disability means that commuting to an office impractical and painful. That might mean you can find work as a remote employee, freeing you up to create flexible work hours so you can earn a salary while also being an attendant parent. Don’t be so quick to back away from perceived negatives. There's a way to make use of everything you are. Your weakness can become your strength, if you leverage it strategically. Edison's deafness certainly made him difficult to communicate with, but overall, his ability to divert all his faculties from less important considerations and concentrate them on the mental work at hand is what allowed him to file over a thousand patents in his lifetime. Perhaps prolificacy is the result of leaning into your humanity.
Life has a funny way of proving us wrong about our perceived limitations. Sometimes the perceived negatives we back away from are the very traits that help us thrive in the first place. In fact, it's a gift when the world proves you wrong about your limitations. Your awareness of your downside might actually prompt you to make it part of your value creation process.
Every weakness has a corresponding strength. Whatever it is you think is going to hold you back, see if you can’t flip it on its head and find people who would value the kind of work you do. Your perceived liabilities might be valuable to a team. How might you neutralize or capitalize on your weaknesses so your strengths can operate unfettered?
Own your unique value
Increase awareness of your own downside
Prove yourself wrong about perceived negatives/ limits
Neutralize and capitalize on your weaknesses so strengths can operate unfettered