Tag: weaknesses

Leadership, Weaknesses, and Snap-Hooks

Running down the left rough, a lake crept into the 2nd cut of rough at the 270 yard mark. Sand traps dotted the right side all of the way to the green like miniature beaches that drew straying tee shots. The fairway was perfectly manicured, as tight as freshly stretched carpet. But it was narrow.

image credit: Flickr user RAK39

So I eased off. I have a tendency to get a little quick with my hands and over-cook a drive, turning a would-be soft draw (a right-to-left shot) into a nasty snap-hook (a right to LEFT shot). And because that’s my tendency, especially in pressure situations, I’ll overcompensate and leave my hands open, blocking that would-be snap-hook from ever happening and watching my tee shot float 30 yards right of my intended target into said mini-beach.

“Oh, just hit it!” I told myself. “You’re a decent golfer. Trust your swing,” I said in my head. So I did. Twice. And twice I failed.

Side note: maybe I’m merely “decent” because I don’t trust my swing. Maybe it’s because I don’t practice much…

For the rest of the round, on holes where the landing area off of the tee box was tight, I dropped down and played an iron off of the tee. I played a safer shot with a higher percentage of probability I’d hit the fairway and be able to keep playing the hole. And it worked. I split the rough every time and was able to walk my way right up to the green with relative ease.

I know my weaknesses and limitations on the golf course.

Leadership weaknesses

I also know my weaknesses and limitations in leadership. So should you.

If you’re going to be a good leader, you’ve got to understand where you’re weak. Where your leadership, gifts, and talents can’t cut the mustard. But let’s take it a step further. You’ve got to identify your weaknesses, then do something about it.

Take out a shorter iron that you’re good at hitting.

To identify that you’ve got a weakness but do nothing about it is absolute foolishness. The best leaders identify their weaknesses and compensate, surrounding themselves with people who are strong where they’re weak, freeing them up to maximize their strengths. You’ll find much more fulfillment and joy when you operate out of your strengths rather than beating yourself over the head trying to shore up your weaknesses.

In the moment on the golf course, I asses the situation, remind myself where I’m weak, pick an iron that represents my strength, and trust the hard work and practice (and God-given ability) that I bring to the box. I don’t try to press through my weaknesses and act like they’re not real. I don’t try to tweak my driver there on the fly, even though that would be tempting. (Ever wish you possessed someone else’s gifts?)

The reality is that God hasn’t gifted you with every gift possible or every strength and every good idea. God hasn’t created you to do everything well. So do that thing that He has designed you for. Do it with all of your strength, with great joy and conviction.

 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters – Colossians 3:23

And your weaknesses? Put the driver back in the bag. Let someone else hit that one.



Practicing from the bunker

I was playing golf with a friend of mine the other day.  He pulled his shot off of the 4th tee box, and it flew into the bunker in the left rough.  He was pretty upset, and was dreading his next shot even before he got into the cart.

“I have no idea how to hit out of a bunker.  Do you?”

“Actually, yes.  It’s easy.  I used to practice at it.”

Even as the words came out of my mouth, I was laughing at myself.  Who practices out of a bunker? I mean, shouldn’t we all practice from the tee box and the fairway?  Because if we get better and better off of the box, we’ll never be hanging out in bunkers.

Apparently, I was never good enough to steer clear of the traps.

Which means I’m just like the best players in the world.

You see, it doesn’t matter how good you are at the game of golf, you’re going to have to hit from the bunker at some point.  You’re not good enough to avoid every trap.

In our small group meeting this week, we talked about our weaknesses.  It wasn’t what I would call a joyous occasion.  But it was really good.  Some of us could easily identify areas where we’re weak.  For others, it was a bit tougher.  But we didn’t stop there.

Identifying your weaknesses is like saying, “I don’t know how to hit the ball from the sand,” but not planning to do anything about it.  That statement needs to be followed by, “Can you help me?”  Because hitting the ball from the sand is tough.  And it’s an art form.  And it takes somebody being patient with you and helping you figure it out.  Showing you where to stand.  How to stand.  How to swing.  And the thought process that goes into blasting one out.  You don’t just innately know how to hit a sand shot.  You need a patient coach.

God allows us to be weak.  Because if we weren’t weak, why would we need Him?  And if we could figure out this life all on our own, we’d have no need for Him and His people (the Church).

How do you grow through your weaknesses?

1. Identify your weaknesses. You have to start with this.  If you’re having trouble doing this, just ask some of your friends.  Or, better yet, if you’re married, ask your spouse.  They’ll have no trouble identifying them for you.

2. Come up with an action plan. Write out tangible goals that will help you grow through these weaknesses.  Without tangible goals, achievable goals, how will you know if you’re ever making progress?

3. Identify a person who’s strong where you’re weak. Share your weakness(es) with them, and your action plan.  Let them know that you’re going to be a work-in-progress, but that you’d like them to know where you’re headed.

4. Be open and honest about who you are and ways you still fall short. You’re going to mess up.  Again and again.  And while that’s not okay, it puts you in company with guys like the apostle Paul.  (Philippians 3:12-13)

You need to find somebody who is strong in areas where you’re weak.  Lean on them.  Let them into your struggles.

If you never work on your weaknesses, you’ll find yourself in the bunker one day with no idea how to get out.

Do you find it difficult to identify your weaknesses?

Or is it more difficult for you to actually do something about them?


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