There is a constant discussion in my head about who I am and what I am about. It always comes down to what I am willing to accept about myself, what I want to work on, and what I need to do more of.
I learned an important thing in my education and experience in the business world. It is much more important to improve on your strengths than your weaknesses. I think that goes against our conventional wisdom. I think we so consistently like to root for the underdog, that we ignore the fact that he/she/they is/are working 10 times harder than someone else just to have a chance to achieve the same results. For example, the famous story about "Rudy" the kid who got into Norte Dame, walked on the football team, and made a tackle on the last play of the year. The story was excellent and really warmed our hearts, but in reality the kid worked 10 times harder than anyone else on that team and only got one play out of it. Hard work was this kid's strength, size and strength and football skills were not.
This is not to say that we shouldn't go against the odds or improve our weaknesses. I don't think any great thing in history would've happened if we people didn't go against the grain every now and then. What I mean by all of this, is that we have to be realistic and smart about the road we take.
I'm not a good dancer, you won't see me on "So You Think You Can Dance" anytime soon. I used to perform in theatre and choir and it was fun, but I was always realistic about it. I was in the upper echelon of performers in a very small sample space. I wasn't ever going to pursue performing as a career because I knew that the talent level I needed simply wasn't there. I surely enjoy it though, and I always have the option to do a community show or something like that. Same goes with football. I am athletic, but I don't have the skills to play in the NFL, so I play intramural flag football at my college and I have a blast. That's all that matters.
But that's not my point. I just think that we tend to focus too much on our shortcomings and how to make them better instead of on what we are good at and how to make those things better. I am an excellent thinker, I tend to understand people really well, I can multitask, I can learn quickly, I can relate to almost anyone. I find these things to be very useful in the business world. What's even better is that I actually enjoy all of this. I also realize that I'd make an excellent college advisor or something along those lines. Nothing looks better than someone who understands what their strengths are and utilizes them to their full potential.
Ever since I've adopted this thought process, my life has been happier and more fulfilling. I am very hard on myself, more so than even the most totalitarian superior. I find that when I accept my weaknesses and improve them where I can and instead focus most of my energy toward my strengths, I am more productive and successful. I will probably never stop being anxious about what people think, but I can be hyper-aware (something I've very good at) of what I'm thinking and realize that I'm being ridiculous. I probably will always wear my heart on my sleeve, but I can be excellent at thinking and exploring my emotions in a healthier way. And the list goes on...
Focus on strengths instead of weaknesses and you will find yourself performing to the potential you probably thought you always had. You will find yourself happier and finding more success. You'll look at the mirror and smile again because you are proud of something you are doing.
You may even find your niche. And that is the best place for any person to be in their life.