Saturday, December 04, 2010


Strengths & Liabilities, Personal

Another Patton Associates S-M-A-R-TBriefing

"Your Strengths Can Turn into Liabilities"

by: Gary F. Patton (gfp '42™) 1

What are your principal strengths? You're wise to be very clear about what they are because they complement your value. And you'll usually have more than one!

Call it too much of a good thing, if you will! But, when you overuse one of your strengths, use one exclusively or use any under too much dis-stress, your strength will evolve into a liability ...sooner or later depending on your personal temperament.

The middle ground in the metamorphosis between strength and liability, I call an "over-extended strength".

You have been taught you have weaknesses. I don't agree!

A modern, slang expression does make my point best and you'll please forgive the incorrect grammar:

"God don't make junk!" ~ gfp '42™

How You Progress to Liability

Your liabilities usually will display themselves when you're under increasing 'dis-stress'. That's the bad kind of 'stress'. Liability-triggering dis-tress can hit all at once because of a horrendously stressful event. Or it may build unremittingly over time.

Surprisingly in my experience, one can be still "in flow", even when over-extending a strength.

And as the dis-stress mounts, you go from 'strength' to 'over-extended strength' to 'liability'. As dis-stress within grows, this progression is guaranteed based on my own experience and watching my clients and colleagues deteriorate because of this phenomenon.

One common example of the "Strength to Liability Progression" that you'll have noticed is the one demonstrated regularly by so-called "assertive people" when they're under mounting dis-stress. Their strength of 'assertiveness' will first metamorphose into the over-extended strength of 'pushiness' and, then, into the career-defeating liability of 'aggressiveness'.

Examples of Liability-Growing Are All Around You

Look around and you’ll see plenty of examples of gifts/strengths transforming themselves before your very eyes in your family, friendships, neighbourhood and workplace ...all the time.

There's the skillful analyst, Analytical Alice. She revels in data and spreadsheets. Normally, Alice uses her logical strength to serve her and her workmates well. She brings objectivity to the decision-making process, which is great. But Alice can get stuck in an endless loop of over-analysis as her dis-stress increases.

As it does, she seeks more and more data before making her decision ...even for decisions that call for experience, intuition, and anecdotal information... because of Alice's fear of making a mistake under stress.

Dis-stress fogs our brains and makes us less bright, creative and focused than we normally are when calm and relaxed.

Then, there's that guy, Creative Charlie, who’s always coming up with new ideas. He’s energy personified and his presence adds spark to every meeting. That part of his makeup is fantastic. But, with Charlie's creativity running full tilt all the time, he zooms past the part where one's wise to focus on just one idea, develop it in detail, and get it going.

The ideas keep coming, but nothing gains traction because Creative Charlie is overextending his gift and strength of creativity. Under too much stress, he regularly becomes a liability to all he 'helps'.

Responsible Russell? He ends up taking on so much work that he can’t do any of it well. Organized Ophelia? She’s so organized that she’s one file folder away from being a control freak. Empathetic Elena? She spends so much time listening as a "Burden-Bearer" for other people and their problems that she’s gets emotionally worn out.

What about your greatest gifts and strengths? Are you using one of them so constantly and exclusively that you’ve taken it to its counter-productive, over-extended extreme? If your answer is yes, here’s great news!

As soon as you ease back on that one over-used strength, you’ll give all of your other strengths more room to step forward and go to work.

What about how you handle distress from difficult people or other challenges? Do you become overwhelmed by the dis-stress and morph your over-extended strengths into liabilities? If your answer is yes again, there's good news for you too!

Here’s your customer service and people skills S-M-A-R-TTip™:
"Build my Dis-stress Controller into you life-skills tool kit so you can more easily defeat the dis-stress building in your body using an anytime, simple and unobtrusive technique you'll discover here!" ~ gfp '42™
You'll smooth your heart-brain interaction by using my Distress Controller whenever you feel internal discomfort starting to build.

Using my dis-stress reduction tool will short circuit the over-extension of your core gifts and strengths and remove the fuse from the progression that turns an over-extended strength into a liability.

When you do, then, you can really flow!

Try my Distress Controller™ ...right now... please! You'll believe in its power when you sense how it makes you feel. You've got nothing to lose. And everything to gain.

But, using this lifeskill is a choice! And remember, quality customer service is a moment-to-moment choice. Plus, a full life is an unending series of wise decisions.
Call me now at the number below if I can help you in this area further! It's a coaching specialty for me.

Please drop me a line using the link immediately below this paragraph. I'd love to hear what you think and how you feel about the above.

By clicking here, you can e-mail me regarding questions about this article, to request other Stress Management articles or to be added to my S-M-A-R-TBriefing™ Mailing List.

With my compliments and permission to reproduce, without change or profiteering, including the following:

Copyright © 2010 Gary Patton,, People Development Coaches


1 By allowing your cursor to rest for a moment on any of my hyper-links, a Pop-up Window will share additional information about the Web Site you can choose to visit by left-clicking it. You will discover this is helpful. e.g. gfp'42™ = "Gary's copyright & trademark designation + his Web site for FREE S-M-A-R-TTips™"

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