It seems like everyone wants to know what being an authentic Christian is like. I've heard sermons before wherein the main thesis was, "What does an authentic Christian look like?" Recently, a pretty big Christian blogger wrote about being authentic, and he points out good things to think about. In his article, Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, says a few important things that have to deal with strengths and weaknesses. He says that you have to discover your strengths and manage your weaknesses. I couldn't agree more. One of the things that plagued me for most of my Navy career was the fact that I didn't know who I was at the core. I didn't know what made me who I was. I didn't know my strengths and my weaknesses.
The thing that Mr. Hyatt doesn't lay out, however, is that we aren't always the best judge of what our strengths and weaknesses are. For this reason, we need mentors. When I was being mentored by a Navigator in San Diego, I was asked what I thought my strength was. It turns out that it wasn't an easy question to answer. However, after a few meetings, my new mentor knew what my strengths and weaknesses were. As to my strengths, he said my biggest was my ability to learn. That is an important strength, and I didn't even know I had it. That strength turned into an ability to figure out what it would take to get a promotion to Chief Petty Officer because I learned what was required of me. That strength also led to what is probably my biggest strength now...becoming a good mentor to others.
Mentoring is all about being authentic, to a point. Your protégé doesn't need to know everything about you like an accountability partner would. However, he must know that you're using your strengths to help him. I have that situation now with a Sailor at my command. I've already learned that he wants to be involved, but he doesn't just get his feet wet. When he goes in for it...well, he goes all the way. That sort of ambition is a pretty good thing if it can be tempered and utilized for the right purposes. I'm happy that one of his strengths is his willingness to take risks.
So you see, strengths and weaknesses do make up a great deal of who we are. The only thing I would counter with is that we are not always the best person to know those strengths and weaknesses. That is why you need to be in a mentoring relationship, both as a mentor and as a protégé.