ArticleJim Hughes

How to turn your so-called 'weaknesses' into your biggest strengths

ArticleJim Hughes
How to turn your so-called 'weaknesses' into your biggest strengths

Untamed Entrepreneurs - A Not Quite Oxford Dictionary Definition

‘Untamed Entrepreneur’ - Noun
"a person possessing an entrepreneurial mindset who engages in both life and work activities in an unconventional manner. They are distinguishable by their gregarious nature, disregard for half measures (in any form) and insatiable appetite for adventure, fun and self-development.
“It’s easy to spot an Untamed Entrepreneur. They will first to the top of the mountain and first in the bar"
synonyms: N/A

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Why I Am Writing This Ramble

Finding ones purpose, pursuing ones dreams, and living a life on ones own terms, are three of the narratives I champion with the most vigour.

Ever since my own self-analysis led me to major life-changing realisations -and the opportunity to achieve all three- I have been on a mission to help others do the same.

My default setting is to help anyone who asks for it -and many who don’t. My business mentor on the other hand, fights a constant battle to keep me focused on my niche.

In homage to him and his discipline I shall therefore focus this Ramble on said niche. My favourite audience. The people to whom I can most relate and thus provide the most effective help.

I am speaking of course about the Untamed Entrepreneurs of this world.

During the last 10 years of my life, I have lived two extremes. Five years ruining my body, liver and wallet in Whistler, followed by five years of career focus, fiscal responsibility and a diligent approach to health when living in Australia (I told you we don't do half measures).

Whilst ultimately, neither lifestyle was sustainable, one was true to my natural personality and one was not.

Whilst living in Whistler, whether I was ski instructing, plumbing or partying, I was surrounded by like-minded people and encouraged to be myself. Retreating within my shell would have served no purpose.

At the time I took it for granted but after five years in Perth working in a proper job and taking life more seriously, I soon realized I had been on a pretty good wicket back in BC.

Upon reflecting on my time in Perth, I have learned some pretty valuable lessons. It is these lessons I wish to share with you fellow Untamed Entrepreneurs.

In doing so I hope to shorten your route to finding your purpose, passions and a life on your own terms.

Re-Framing Weaknesses and The Importance of Self-Awareness

Perhaps the single biggest turning point in my path to self-discovery was when I realized I had spent years perceiving some of my biggest strengths, as weaknesses.

Whilst a lack of self awareness ultimately allows these types of misunderstandings to prevail: society, and the manner in which it consistently misconceives strengths and weaknesses must cop a lot of the blame.

In Australia -whilst I value every minute of my time spent with the company- I was ultimately working in the wrong industry, in the wrong role, serving the wrong people.

To make it more relatable and hopefully more useful I will quickly breakdown all three aspects and explain their misalignment.

Firstly, lets look at my role. I was managing a small business. This meant paying attention to small details and getting bogged down by day to day operations. Neither of which I enjoy.

Secondly, the industry -mining. A large, antiquated industry reluctant to embrace change and more concerned with risk mitigation than innovation. Not ideal stomping ground for the young and hungry looking to try new things.

Lastly, the people I served. When one works in an industry with the characteristics described above, two things can happen. You either stay true to your beliefs and spend everyday frustrated, or you give up, fit in and become part of the fabric.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of the old timers I dealt with were in the latter camp. They were tired, unmotivated and spent most of their time in meetings, finding ways to avoid risk and complicate the system in an attempt to justify their own existence.

It is not hard to see how my personality was at odds with my situation. I would spend meetings ‘playing the game’, pretending I cared about the latest iron ore price, rather than taking the piss out the hair of the old git I was talking to.

Occasionally I would misread the situation and go all in with a joke or two. They rarely went down well. It got even worse when beers were involved!

The Best Time Is Now

I tell you all this because I want to help those who find themselves in similar situations.

It took me five years to realise the problem was not with me, but my environment. I was convinced that this was all part of growing up and working in a proper job.

Gone were the carefree days of Whistler and turning up for work still shit faced to unblock someones drain. This is what working life looked like for adults.

My conscience was convinced this was the reality and my environment supported it.
Thank fully, I realized my situation and got myself out. The longer I had stayed in, the harder this change would have been - there is every chance I could have ended up like my embittered peers in the industry.

And now, I want to do the same for you.

The Most Commonly Misperceived Strengths

So, as someone with a larger-than-life personality and adventurous nature; what perceived weaknesses do you possess and how can they be turned into a strength?

Here is a list of what I believe to be the 8 biggest misunderstandings of an Untamed Entrepreneur.

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Do any of those resonate with you?

How have you -and others around you- labelled these characteristics?

Have you ever re-framed them in this way before?

Don’t Change Yourself, Change Your Environment

The phrase ‘one mans trash is another mans treasure’ springs to mind. The notion that if your energetic personality is viewed as a weakness by those around you, it simply means you’re in the wrong crowd.

Rather than change who you are in order to fit in, change your surroundings. There’s a business or marketplace out there craving someone with your positive outlook, dynamism and ceaseless enthusiasm.

As I mentioned in my last Ramble, when you find this place, magic happens. This where you truly begin to add value and start having fun.

If my story, or the aspects listed in the table above bare a resemblance to your situation, I implore to re-frame what you may view as weaknesses.

I encourage you to view your role in society, and the business world, differently: to realise that every trait you possess can be reframed and used as leverage to add more value.

Look around, find the people and the markets that want what you have and continue to be yourself.