This weirdness about you that you think is your flaw – it’s the reason someone is falling in love with you.
This article was inspired by a short email we received today from a new course student:
Dear Marc and Angel,
My flaws are holding me back and I’m sick of it! For the past several years I’ve been working my way up the corporate ladder at a growing Fortune 500 company, but over the past ten months I’ve been denied three times for three different management opportunities. The reason is always sugarcoated by the Vice President of our company, but she basically tells me that while I’m “an asset to the company,” I’m just “too sensitive and caring” for the cutthroat duties of the management positions I’ve applied for. And the kicker is, in similar but different words, I’ve been told this all my life. What can I do? I’m feeling utterly flawed and stuck at the moment. Any guidance at all would be greatly appreciated.
A Flawed Student
Our reply (an open reply to all who struggle with their “flaws”):
Dear Flawed Student,
It’s time for a quick story about life and success…
In early 1976, after working her butt off to earn a position as the co-anchor of the local evening news in Baltimore, 22-year-old Oprah Winfrey was abruptly taken off the air and demoted just a few short months later. The television station manager told Oprah that she wasn’t suited for reporting prime-time news, as she seemed far too emotionally involved and attached to the stories she was reporting on. Oprah was shocked and devastated, of course, and her dream of being a prominent television show host appeared to have ended before it had really begun.
As she collected her thoughts and emotions, it dawned on Oprah that in a way the television station manager was right. He had a good point in saying that she was emotional, because she sincerely cared about people and their stories, and it did sometimes affect her reporting decisions. Just a couple weeks before she was demoted, Oprah had been asked to do a live on-scene report at a young child’s funeral. When she decided to report from a distance to give the family of the deceased child some privacy rather than shoving a camera and microphone in their faces, she was scolded for not properly fulfilling her job responsibilities.
Oprah ultimately accepted responsibility for herself and her choices. She decided to do the best she could with the hand she’d been dealt, and she continued to put her heart into the new, smaller reporting roll she had been given following her demotion. And it’s a good thing she did, because soon thereafter a major management shake-up occurred at the news station that changed everything.
A new station manager named Bill Baker, who had an extremely successful track record, was hired by the station’s parent network to fix the station’s sinking ratings. Shortly after Bill took over, he and his wife, Jeannemarie, met Oprah at an industry cocktail party. Bill already had loose plans to start a new daytime talk show, and following the party, Jeannemarie couldn’t stop talking about Oprah and what a wonderful talk show host she would make. “There is something magical about her,” she told Bill. “She wears her heart on her sleeve, and she is not at all pretentious.”
Bill agreed that Oprah had incredibly inspiring character traits, and she was hired to co-host the new talk show. Now, instead of having to keep perfect composure and follow an emotionless reporting script, she was free to cry, laugh and get personal with her guests and their stories. And the station’s daytime audience quickly fell in love with Oprah’s new talk show format, her emotional touch, and her honest, heartfelt personality. Within a couple years, her talk show was the network’s top-rated show by a long shot.
Oprah Winfrey – who had once been banished from the spotlight for her heartfelt, compassionate, emotionally-charged style of reporting – later used those same exact skills and related character traits to become one of the most successful personalities in the history of television.
And there is a great lesson in Oprah’s story that is relevant to all of us…
Oftentimes, exactly who we are – flaws and all – is our most valuable asset.
We just might not realize it yet.
Marc and Angel
Please leave a comment below and let us know:
What’s one “flaw” you have that’s actually become a blessing in disguise?
Anything else to share?
We would love to hear from YOU. 🙂
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