How to Make Anger and other “Weaknesses” Your Friend

“When you lose a parent young, it hardens you to life. Then you make a decision. Either you give in to it or you get back at it. Anger drove me to be ambitious. Anger-really constructive anger-is great,” said US actor Dylan McDermott in a USA Weekend interview, as he spoke of losing his mother when he was 5.

I was reminded of coach Thomas Leonard’s attraction principles, which include, “Accept and endorse your worst weakness by being grateful for how well it’s gotten you to THIS place in your life.”

Here is a 4 step process for befriending and leveraging your “weakness”:

  1. Recognize what your “worst weakness” is.
  2. Recognize where it has taken you.
  3. Give thanks for it.
  4. Then decide what, if anything you want to do with it.

McDermott steered his anger to drive his career. What would he have missed out on had he gone from step 1 to 4, and skipped the middle? When you follow this 4 step model, your perspective shifts; with better results. Note: I do not consider anger a weakness, but a natural emotion.  How it is expressed, as I noted in my blog on bullying, can be problematic and costly. 

Anger can be positively channeled for change via peaceful protests with greater good intentions. Anger is a natural part of grief, whether it’s grief over unexpected changes and way of life or grief over centuries of mistreatment. I worked at a Hospice pre-coaching career (over 22 years ago) and am experienced with grief.

Through my ongoing development as a coach and coaching supervisor, I am learning more about trauma informed work, both the “big T” of a childhood loss of a parent (and sometimes overlooked events such as surgeries, especially within the first three years of life, as my grandson has recently experienced for the second time) as well as “little t”, ongoing “relentless” stress, such as the pandemic and microaggressions.

Providing safety and trust as leaders and coaches during these times is crucial, what I am known for, and led to an increase in my business this past year. I have learned some additional grounding strategies I am sharing with clients in addition to the centering and journaling I have already been practicing.

Awareness of and culturally appropriately managing emotions is a hallmark of EQ (and CQ, Cultural Intelligence, such as acknowledging and addressing microaggressions) as well as my coaching. Research shows that people with high Emotional Intelligence have greater mental health, exemplary job performance, and more potent leadership skills.

“After the assessment, we outlined specific goals for achievement (including communication). Not only did I improve in the targeted areas, but I also became clear about how my thinking patterns and emotions impacted my performance and productivity. Identifying emotions and appropriately using them productively was another benefit of our working together,” Joe Fitzgerald, (Director of Finance, Hills Pet Nutrition (Colgate) at the time of our coaching).

Fear is another emotion that is sometimes seen as a weakness or barrier to progress and can at times, like anger in McDermott’s example, serve you by keeping you from harm. I was faced with my own challenge of holding on/letting go of fear as I let go of (perceived) control while preparing for and experiencing my 3 month Asia Pacific journey as well as my grandson’s heart surgeries.

Ready to discover how to make even your “weaknesses” work for you (and how to deal with others’!)? Contact me for an Unlock All Potential strategy session.  I currently have availability to coach 3 more leaders or one more team.  

A coach yourself? I invite you to consider our unique, exclusive Culturally Confident Credentialing Mentor Coaching™ Program

To our potential, prosperity and peace-we are in this together!

Thanks and see you next week,

Marilyn O’Hearne, MSW, MCC, LLC

CQ Master Certified Coach, International Coach Federation [email protected]

First published February 27, 2015 and updated June 21, 2021

Photo credit:By Rebecca Dru Bart ryker (cropped version) (flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons