When Your Greatest Strength is Your Greatest Weakness

Sitting across from your future boss, you may find the situation to be less than comfortable as you interview for the job of your dreams. You may even dread the ultimate question: “What is your greatest strength?”

If you answer too quickly, you risk being viewed as an overconfident or too well-rehearsed individual. If you respond with a weak answer after a pause, well, you reveal your greatest weakness~ not delivering a message with conviction and truth.

Although I have rarely been in a job interview setting (I have managed to develop a career on a referral basis for the most part), I have often pondered how I would answer the question, should I ever find myself having to address it.

What is your greatest strength?

The answer came to me the other day while resolving a conflict I had inadvertantly started. My greatest strength, my friend said, is my unbridled enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm comes from the Greek term enthousiasmos.  The adjective  entheos refers to  “having the god within”. Since we all have God within, I imagine many people have enthusiasm, or at least did at some point in their lives before conditioning taught them otherwise.

At the age of forty, I think there is no turning back. I am indeed a lost case in  the lane of unbridled umph.

Tameless god-within-ness has gotten me into a pickle more than once in my life. My rather impulsive demeanor can be off-putting for the more staid at heart. The fact that I’m in Germany is quite the cosmic joke ~ enthusiasm is not a common charateristic in these parts. 

My so-called strength has not always gotten me into trouble, though. It has also gotten me to where I am today ~without fear of looking stupid, I risk doing so to reach for the heights, climb through the thickets and bound to the other side with joy and abundance. It’s a lot more fun to live as if the sky is the limit than to build walls that say ‘Here, and no farther’.

As my friend added, my greatest strength is indeed my greatest weakness. My guess is it is yours, as well. But you know what? It’s what makes us who we are.

And that’s okay, too.

1 Comment

  1. Gary Ellenbolt

    July 24, 2009 at 11:15 am

    When E.B. White eulogized James Thurber in “The New Yorker,” White wrote: “Thurber didn’t write the way a surgeon operates; Thurber wrote the way a child skips rope, the way a mouse waltzes.” If we’re not going to tackle the things we want to (or get to) accomplish with that spirit of “unbridled umph,” your tasks will usually reflect that, and then–why do them at all?

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