I can’t multitask, not because science has proof that it stifles productivity but because it’s my Achilles heel. I figured this back in school after missing out on a bazillion interesting gist with my buddies – asides hearing screams of my name across the room reminding me I had to answer a question or simply nod in agreement.
I decided to change that; I despised the thought that there was something I just couldn’t get good at.
So I got home really eager to do stuff; I tried helping out with chores, cook, eat, sleep and work all at the same time. I’ll be stating the obvious to say I failed because I did. Many times.
Just this week, mum finally let me prepare meals and I’m stunned at how bad I am at cooking. The last two days were worse – charred rice, crunchy black beans; yesterday, we had steam with bread for breakfast. Right, it is a taboo for an African woman to fail in the kitchen, feel free to shoot me.
So What? You Have a Weakness.
You probably don’t know Steven Spielberg or that he has dyslexia but you know the movies The Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park. As opposed to general forward thinking that successful people focus only on their strengths, Steven did not become a seasoned screenwriter and studio entrepreneur by ignoring the fact that he had spelling and writing problems. Denying the existence of your weakness is as good as focusing on it.
Weigh your options.
I know I’m often too self-conscious to speak in public especially because I always feel I’m not properly dressed. But I love public speaking, a ton.
I start by telling myself how much I want public speaking to be a part of my career and how being self-conscious gets in the way. I look hard and deep within for reasons why public speaking gives me fulfilment and there, I find the “aha” moment. I know I’d regret to look back from the future and wonder why I never tried to speak at all.
Admit you can’t change it; at least, not with the same ways you’ve tried.
So I slip into something very comfortable every time I have to stand before an audience since I can’t wear an invisible cloak, at best, I dress to cause a good stare. Thankfully, I’m not that ugly.
Don’t try to hide it, in fact, tell someone about it.
A problem shared is a problem halved – Nah. Not that.
The first time I had to anchor an event hosting about 400 people, I got the chills even in my bespoke suit. I called The Tutor and shared my fear with him, he said “Most of the things we are scared about aren’t the problems we face but that we make them appear bigger than they really are.” I still think he stole that quote from someone but those were the words I needed to hear.
Through the event, it didn’t matter whether someone in the audience was waiting to throw something heavy at me, I did it almost seamlessly. And flew off the stage the second I was done.
Coming out open is not a guarantee you’ll get positive feedback or a pat on the shoulder but for a fraction of one second, you feel some freshness sweep over your face. You stand disentangled from the thought of hiding behind your fears and you find that courage to tell more. When you hide your weakness, you become more vulnerable to it as it grows more powerful before your peaky eyes.
Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous start out with people having similar weakness find strength to fight their dependency through sharing their stories.
Thrive on it.
With the feeling that I have worked on my weakness, not eliminate it, I grow the confidence to do better by; telling a more inspiring story, touching a life and stop bothering myself over some cheap attire. (Yes, I still buy cheap things).
Now I cook when I’m not working, I don’t read while chatting and I simply make my life easier doing one thing at a time because I know I can’t multitask.
This should work for any other weakness, I think.