Use a weakness to your advantage...
I was recently at a seminar in Chicago where Bill Parisi finished his presentation with a great story to remind us that sometimes a weakness is actually a great strength in disguise…
A young boy who was born without a left arm was sent to Judo lessons by his mother in a bid to help with his confidence. So he began taking lessons with an old Japanese master. Every practice session the master taught the boy one throw. Only one technique …over and over again.
Every now and then the young boy would see the other students learning different techniques and ask the master why he wasn’t learning anything different or new. The master always replied – “Just focus on this one throw. Keep practicing”
Several months later, it was the state Judo championships and the old master entered the young boy.
The young boy was terrified.
The first match began and the young boy grabbed his opponent and to the shock of all the spectators – easily flipped him to the ground. Instant win!
The second round was a little harder but the one-armed boy again pulled off the technique – the only technique he knew, and won.
The third and fourth round went exactly the same way and the young boy found himself in the tournament final facing a much bigger and tougher opponent, who had won the tournament for three straight years.
The young boy was seemed over-matched. The referee and the organizers of the tournament spoke to the master and asked him if he wanted to withdraw his student.
“No” said the master. “We will fight”.
As the final match began the entire crowd was nervous with anticipation. The opponent stepped and grabbed the young one-armed boy and pulled him towards him. For a second it looked as if this was it…
But then the one armed boy reached with his right hand, stepped in and DOWN – he threw his opponent flat on his back, to win the match!
The crowd went crazy – the one-armed boy was now the state Judo Champion!
On the drive home, the young boy asked his teacher – “Was this a set-up? Did they just let me win because I only have one arm? I only know one technique – these guys know hundreds!”
The teacher replied, “No – you won fair and square. But there are two reasons. You won because you mastered one of the most devastating techniques in Judo. And the only known way to defend against that throw is to grab the left arm!”
What appeared to be an incredible weakness – was in fact his greatest strength.
So, with that story in your mind, as we approach the busy season of holiday hustle and bustle and perhaps some self doubt at our ability to accomplish all of our tasks…I ask you to reflect for a moment… what are your strengths? Define them, write them down and play to your strength! If, right now you’re thinking you have very few, I’d challenge you to ask those closest to you what THEY perceive your strengths to be. My guess is you’ll be surprised and humbled by their perception of your greatest assets!
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!