Close
Insight

How Your Fatal Flaw Can Fuel Your Happiness

by Shannon Houde

6 steps in 4-weeks to turn ‘issues’ into successes

Whether we want to admit it or not we all have a fatal flaw – one trait that, left unchecked, can drag us to our doom, or send us into a destructive spiral. Often our flaws can masquerade as a virtue: a trusting nature, a stubborn streak or, if I apply the theory to my own life, a blunt and direct manner of speech that has kept me in league with corporate “big boys”.

I make decisions quickly… and then change my mind later. I have high expectations of myself and others to the level of perfectionism. All of this has fueled me in running a successful coaching business, in raising two confident, compassionate boys as a single mom and in keeping solid friendships across four continents. However, I have to acknowledge that this trait can also be a spark for stress, both in myself and in others.

My biggest flaw is summed up on a fridge magnet my 9-year-old gave me for Christmas: “I’m not bossy, I just have better ideas”. It’s true, I am bossy! I also have good ideas. Hmmm… but when I really sit down and think about what are the flaws that block my happiness, block the relationships I want to thrive, block the career success I am yearning for, there are more than one. Now there’s no need to start a huge list beating yourself up. But self-awareness and self-reflection are critical to personal growth.

It may sound negative at first to give more attention to our fatal flaws… but as an executive coach, I have spent decades helping people discover insights about themselves, unpacking their blockages to happiness, success, and achieving impact. This can steer us towards being externally focused, on other people, circumstances we consider outside of our control. But are they? Or is it something inside of us that is our block?

As a career coach, I encourage people to celebrate their skills and write sparkly accomplishment statements that big them up against the competition. I help others to focus so much on their positive competencies, but at the same time, it strikes me that ignoring certain flaws could, in fact, be holding them back. So what can you do to embrace and then leverage your own fatal flaw(s)? Here’s my 6 steps for you to take on this month:

A 4-week plan

  1. Decide on the one flaw that is holding you back from reaching your goals (career, relationships, personal etc).
  2. Spend 2 weeks writing down at least 6 events that happen when that flaw pops up.
  3. At the end of the 2 weeks, write down one thing you learned about yourself.
  4. Write a mantra about what you could do differently for the next 3 weeks.
  5. Write a sticky note reminder of your mantra and put it on your bathroom mirror or car dashboard.
  6. In 2 more weeks, reflect on what you did differently, how you feel about this improvement, who else benefitted from it.

“There is crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in,” sang one of my favorite singers, Leonard Cohen. So, with that in mind, here’s to a summer of personal journeys, growth and happiness.

 

This article was originally posted on Thrive Global.

Category

Press

Take your career to the next level

LEARN MORE
comments

You may also like...

How to get a career in sustainability: hard work, talent and perseverance

You’ve seen the light. After a decade as an accountant or sales manager or marketing executive, you decide a career in corporate sustainability is the thing for you. And why not? The power of business can potentially help to resolve some of the most taxing social and environmental issues of the day. Being part of that promises plenty of exciting development and brain-twisting challenges along the way; not to mention the quiet satisfaction that derives from doing a job that

By Shannon Houde
America’s got hidden talent: Bringing purpose to your workforce strategy

These three panelists’ companies are investing in the future and diversity of their talent base by recruiting and developing opportunity youth and ex-convicts. As Head of FSG’s Talent Rewire program, moderator Kimberly Shin kicked off the session with some shocking statistics: 1 in 7 youth are opportunity youth 1 in 3 American adults have a criminal record 2030 is the year that the majority of young workers under 30 will be people of color We are in the tightest labor market in the last 50

By Shannon Houde
The SB Brand Transformation Roadmap: How to Take Your Sustainability Journey to the Next Level

This Monday morning workshop kicked off with Kevin Hagen, VP of ESG Strategy at Iron Mountain, asking the packed room, “So, why haven’t all companies been able to become sustainable? We’ve been doing this a long time —why aren’t we there yet?” There is a notion that many companies experience a plateau in their sustainability journey and the data backs it up. Hagen and SB’s Director of Knowledge & Insights, Dimitar Vlahov, sit on the SB Working Group — with 10 colleagues and an advisory board

By Shannon Houde
Workplace Equality – It’s Not Just About Gender

This panel on DE&I was diverse in and of itself — with a Korean American, a Quebequois, a Canadian American immigrant and a gender non-binary representative. These speakers made us think differently and challenge our unconscious biases, as well as our use of terminology when discussing diversity. The covered issues such as representation of women in the workplace, Gen Z, getting a sponsor vs. a mentor, and non-binary gender definitions. According to Anna Blue, Co-Executive Director of GirlUp, diversity is not just

By Shannon Houde