Are your strengths or weaknesses the key to your success?

An article about reaching your potential through awareness

by Patrick Pettibon
VP, Personality Insights, Inc.
Co-Founder, DiscoveryReport.com

Care to Know Your Weaknesses?

Everyone seems to be interested in finding out the keys to success. When someone takes a DISC assessment, they are usually very interested in finding out their strengths. Seemingly few people are intrigued to know their weaknesses – unless, of course, they think that their weaknesses might be exposed.

What if a personality assessment could show your weaknesses? Would you even want to know? Maybe. Maybe not.

When people take a personality assessment, they are quite anxious to read the section about their strengths. We all like to hear “the good news” about ourselves. On the other hand, we are less than enthusiastic to find out if there is a “ bad news” section.

Even so, it is important to become aware of our personality traits – even those traits that some refer to as “weaknesses.”

Can a DISC personality assessment really tell you about your strengths and weaknesses?

That is a really important question. The answer is both “yes” and “no.” The answer is “yes” in that your personality is exhibited by behavioral tendencies that play out in our daily life – usually to a great extent. Thus, we expect to see those tendencies carried out in predictable patterns of behavior. Those behaviors can be beneficial yet sometimes limiting, depending on the situation and depending on our response. A DISC profile is designed to measure those predictable patterns.

The answer is also “no” in that our personality does not absolutely dictate our behavior in every respect or in every situation. We choose our behavior based on our own will and based on our own awareness level. We do not necessarily leverage our strengths all of the time nor are we necessarily a captive of our weaknesses all of the time. We can appear to contradict our innate personality style to some extent.

So what is the answer to the question? We go with “yes,” because we are looking at normal behavior versus abnormal behavior. We are looking at common patterns of behavior versus uncommon patterns. We are looking at normal observable tendencies and preferences in our day to day work and interaction with others.

“Weaknesses” is an unhelpful term to use in the context of personality styles, because it is not accurate.

We don’t use the word “weakness” in our personality reports for the simple reason that we give the benefit of the doubt that a person is in the process of learning and growing in their lower traits (less prominent styles). Instead of “weakness” we use terms such as “possible blind-spots” to address traits that a person may not possess naturally. For example, I am a very reserved person. Not being outgoing is not a weakness in and of itself. Being paralyzed into inaction or being unaware of the need to make progress can be a blind-spot for any reserved person. Do I necessarily have those weaknesses just because I am reserved? Of course not. Yes, paralysis and inaction can be the result of a blind-spot at times, but I am also able to become more aware of my behavioral tendencies in order to make the needed adjustments to take action when necessary.

As personality expert, Dr. Robert Rohm, says, you must first become Aware of something before you can BEware of something.  Becoming aware of a potential weakness allows us to adapt and adjust our behavior as needed.

Knowing our “Blind Spots” can be the very key to our excellence.

Our approach to lower traits is to address them as potential “blind spots” versus weaknesses. The process of learning, growing and becoming mature allows us to compensate for areas in our lives that could otherwise be a “weakness.” The fact is that we often do not need to change our behavior that much but rather make small adjustments to get much better results. For example, a reserved person can learn how to just say “hello” to others in social situations to break the ice in conversation. Task-oriented individuals can learn to be more personable – even in the midst of getting work accomplished.

What if the key to your success lay more in knowing about your blind-spots than in knowing about your strengths? That could very well be the case. Some people seem to be successful based on one or two things that they do very well. Others have become successful by simply overcoming one or two major blind-spots in their life.

The point is not to determine whether strengths or weaknesses are more important to understand for success. The point is that becoming aware of our overall personality style can be the greatest factor in unlocking our personal potential.

Our strengths can propel us, but, our “blind-spots” can derail us. We are all interested in moving forward as well as staying on a good path for the long run. That is a healthy picture of success – moving in a good direction and staying the course.

A little self-examination can go a long way

So, what are your strengths? What are your blind-spots? Do you know, or are you still guessing at it? If you have never taken a DISC personality assessment, then we recommend that you spend a 15-20 minutes to do that. It is a great way to get some objective feedback that is designed to be helpful for you. You can also ask your friends, family members and co-workers for some honest feedback. If you do, then just listen with an open mind. There is usually some truth in what people tell you, and you can always learn from someone else. Just make sure that those who you ask have your best interest in mind – that they care about you.

When you become more aware, then you will be in a better position to understand yourself and others for greater success.

I hope this helps!

All the best,


Full disclosure:

We are a provider of DISC personality profiles. Our approach is designed to be positive with an emphasis on strengths and how to be your best while still addressing potential “blind-spots.”