Don't Just Fly, Soar: Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

Photo by  Lauren Roberts  on  Unsplash

Do you remember Disney’s Dumbo?

You know, the baby elephant with the enormous ears.

Dumbo’s story began when he was delivered by a stork to a circus veteran. Immediately he became the laughing stock of the entire circus because of his giant ears.

His big ears get him into a bit of trouble. They cause accidents and destruction in the circus, and as a consequence, Dumbo struggles to fit in. As “punishment” for his destruction, Dumbo is forced to dress up as a clown and perform dangerous, humiliating stunts.

With some mentorship from Timothy Mouse, Dumbo, in the midst of learning a new routine, realizes that his big ears, the same that cause destruction, allow him to fly. Within his weakness, he discovers a talent within himself that is unique to him.   

Dumbo is an ordinary elephant with an extraordinary talent, he just needed a “learning curve” to push him to ultimately discover this gift.

I think a lot of us can find familiarity with Dumbo. In our lives we are constantly battling “learning curves,” as we discover our talents and purpose within the mundane tasks that life throws us.

Lately, I find myself identifying quite a bit with Dumbo.

I find myself in a new stage of life where I wrestle with the question of, “Do I have what it takes?”

I find myself trying to decipher multiple learning curves, as Dumbo tries to discover what he has to offer to the circus and how he can use his ears to his advantage.

And, just like Dumbo, my circus seems daunting to me.

Dumbo’s triumph story can teach us a thing or two about conquering our own circus and discovering our talents within adversity.

Accept Your “Circus”

I don’t know what learning curve you are going through. Maybe it is one that you chose for yourself – a challenge that you would like to complete – or maybe, your circus was chosen for you.

Whether you have control over your situation, or not, accept it. Accept the challenge, this is the first step to moving forward with strength.

Embrace Your “Ears”

When we can accept our challenges as we are being faced with them, it makes it easier for us to address and embrace our “ears” in the situation.

For Dumbo, his ears were originally his weakness – his downfall. So, for our circus, our situation, what are our “ears?”

Is it procrastination?

Is it a feeling of unworthiness?

Is it a lack of understanding?

Pinpoint exactly what it is that is holding you back from accomplishing your task, goal, or dream.

The very things that held you down are gonna carry you up and up and up.
— Timothy Mouse

Just as Dumbo turned his insecurity into his strength, as can we with our own weaknesses and insecurities. If we take the time to address the things that hold us back, we will soar beyond our expectations.

My “Ears”: Procrastination  

For me, I have always struggled with procrastination. When I get overwhelmed, instead of diligently working on tasks, I tend to shrivel up and attempt to avoid the task at all costs.

So, I address this weakness head on. Here are three steps I do to prevent procrastination:

1.     I identify why I am procrastinating or why I want to. Is it because I am uncomfortable with the task? I try and pinpoint what it is that is keeping me from accomplishing my goal, so I can create an action plan for success.

2.     I move the due date for a particular task a few days prior than the original date planned. This allows me to create a buffer, so I am not slammed for to-dos to be completed at the last minute and the quality of my work is pristine.

3.     I break tasks up into chunks. By breaking a simple task up into manageable pieces, I can change my mental focus from being overwhelmed, to being able to achieve little goals bit by bit.

I don’t know what your “ears” are in the circus that you call life, but I challenge you, be like Dumbo. Seek a Timothy Mouse. Find someone who will help you discover how you can accept your circus and embrace the ears that have been given to you.

Your Timothy Mouse can be a mentor, an author, a friend, a parent, a colleague. Find someone who encourages you to go after your goals, who can walk you through embracing your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths.

“Don’t just fly, soar.”

Adair Lyden