I had a mint plant in a pot on my back porch last summer. It smelled so nice and added a pretty bit of green between two chairs! But it had grown out, becoming stringy and deadish in places. So I trimmed it back to give it new energy to grow. The results were amazing! Without those dead stalks to support and holding it back, the mint plant had renewed life. Little green leaves popped out of seemingly dead stalks. New shoots took off! By removing what was sapping its energy and limiting it, it was able to became the plant it had potential to be.
This makes me think of the growth Jesus speaks of:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser … every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” ~John 15:1, 4, 5, ESV
The branch is already fruitful, so the gardener prunes that which saps energy, lacks beauty, and is unfruitful so there can be new growth and fruit. This communicates pruning as positive, not negative!
Notice that Jesus is the source of energy, love, and life for new growth. Being connected in close relationship with him is necessary for us to reach our potential in fruitfulness. Trimming and pruning will are a normal part of our growth process.
None us of really wants to admit that we have weaknesses! But just as much as it’s true that we all have strengths, it’s also true that “Every strength has its weakness.” And by putting words to them, we can make choices to grow so our weakness doesn’t hold us back.
Can you put words to your weaknesses? If you need help with this, knowing your CliftonStrengths Top 5 can help you. While each Strengths Theme has fruitful, productive ways it can be lived out, they also each have weaknesses that likely occur with them. A conversation with a Strengths Coach can be a great help in exploring this in an encouraging way.
A weakness is an immature expression of our personality or Strengths Themes. It prevents that theme, or other themes, from being used healthily and helpfully.
Notice that weakness is not the same as non-talent, or the themes at the bottom of your list of 34 total CliftonStrengths themes. The mint plant’s weakness was not that it should be a different plant, such as a corn stalk. Its weakness was inherent to the kind of plant it was, of having straggly mint stems. The goal of managing weakness and encouraging growth was to be a healthier version of the plant it truly is.
Once we name a weakness, we can take steps in our growth journeys. Each CliftonStrengths theme exists as a continuum from “raw” or undeveloped expression to “mature” or developed expression.
To outgrow our weakness, the first step is to become aware of it and understand how it shows up in our lives. Then we make choices, plans, and actions that lead to change and growth.
It’s exciting that even our weaknesses are a hint of what our strengths could be! As I learned about the weaknesses for my Top 5, I knew I’d struggled with them. But realizing this affirmed I had these themes, and that there was great potential to grow them into strengths.
Knowing Jesus loves us and wants to help us grow can give us confidence and hope as we consider our weaknesses. Then we can engage in developing our themes, so they can work with each other and all be lived out in beautiful ways. This growth is energizing and life-giving not only for us, but the other people in our lives as well!
Open up to John 15 and spend some time with Jesus. Is there an area of life you sense he wants to prune? How does he express his love for you? What does he want for your life?
Receive a free Top 5 CliftonStrengths assessment as well as a complimentary coaching conversation about your Top 5! Simply write me a note and we’ll set it up for you. I want to help you discover your potential strengths, and encourage you so your weakness doesn’t hold you back from successful living and loving.
Kathryn Featherstone is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and a board-certified Christian Life Coach. She’d like to encourage you in your journey! Write her a note or see her Coaching page.