I've been thinking lately about acceptance & strength.
Acceptance of what?
Acceptance of you, me, us and how unique each of us are...(before you roll your eyes, hear me out :)).
I had the good fortune of leading and attending two workshops very recently on how to identify your own skills and strengths; and, what it would mean to use them more often in your work, your business and your life in general. A few things stood out to me that I wanted to share here...
What would it mean if you fully utilized your talents and strengths in your work, business and life?
Feeling inspired, feeling creative, fully engaged, strong (yes – strong!), like you are doing what you need to be doing – WANT to be doing. Being better, kinder, more open-minded. Full of ideas. More energized. Owning WHO you are.
This is the result of fully exploring, using and developing your own talents in the work you do.
If I asked you right here what your weaknesses were – I bet you’d be able to provide me with a list right off the top of your head.
If I now asked you for your strengths, would you be able to provide me that list so quickly? Does it fly off the top of your head? Do you second-guess…hesitate…think about that one time where it didn’t go so well for you, so should you call it a strength anyway??
Does it feel like boasting or bragging to think about them or write down what you’re good at?
This is what I mean by acceptance.
Why are we so reluctant to accept our abilities the way they are?
(And, I include myself in 'we'...although I'm getting better at this, because I love this topic!)
I have a couple of thoughts on this…
Because somewhere along the way, in order to fit in, we somehow learned how not to be different and find ways NOT to showcase our talents.
Or sometimes, we don’t want to make others feel bad when we're good at something so we tend to say things like, “that wasn’t a big deal”, or “it was difficult for me too” when we pull off something that others find remarkable in some way.
The other realization that I came up recently is sometimes what we've felt our weaknesses to be all along…can actually be strengths!
So, I'll use me as an example here. One of my strengths is that I like to connect the dots between seemingly abstract things. I like to find the logic in it, find a process in it, make sense of it, and understand it. This can be anything. As a result, I’m good at finding ways to do things, objectively make sense of difficult situations, find solutions to complex situations or new approaches.
What this looks like from the outside is me thinking and not responding. Right away people wonder if I have an opinion (yes, lots of them), they don’t understand why I’m not freaking out or getting emotional. They say I’m almost too calm. Or, want to hear an analysis right away. I’m getting better at offering a faster viewpoint and opinion but my desire to really think about it and all the complexity tied to it is strong!
So, I started to believe this to be a weakness of mine. I’m not reactive enough, I don’t respond quickly enough.
And, this is what happens, we get talked out of our talent. We don’t own it anymore. We don’t cultivate it.
Instead, we try to act the opposite of our instincts because of external feedback we receive.
You see, this feedback is not unimportant, but it’s not the whole truth. I've been able to come up with unique ways to teach, coach, help people make sense of their complicated, emotionally charged situations and support them to make their own decisions and open up and consider other possibilities.
I’ve helped come up with new ways to support people in their learning and development. I’m a strategic thinker.
I also tend to read people and situations well, which serves me well in teaching, sales, coaching, and community interactions.
Am I perfect at this? An expert? No and No – not by a long shot. There’s room to improve and more to learn. But it excites me and I love it. I feel I’m 'in the zone' when I get to use this skill.
So, that feedback that I sometimes get? I mentioned it’s not unimportant, but it’s not the whole truth.
This feedback gives us an understanding as to how this talent can be perceived.
So, I’m mindful of it and will find opportunities to explain my thought process impacting how I communicate so others know where I’m coming from. (I am not perfect at this either but when I do it, I find it helps immensely).
When we accept who we are, and what we offer, the stronger we feel. We can find ways to share this and communicate in a way that others understand where we're coming from.
And, we need to find a way to practice them, use them regularly so our strengths and talents get stronger and we begin to own them.
We feel strong. We feel confident. We are more creative. We grow. We are capable of amazing things. We have far more ideas.
I don’t know about you, but I want all of that!!
Wouldn’t you like to feel stronger and more confident?
Choose one way that you will practice using a strength of yours this week. Take note of how it makes you feel.
Interested in knowing more about your strengths? One source to get some added help is to check out the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tim Rath or Now, Discover your Strengths by Markus Buckingham & Donald Clifton. If you purchase either book, you receive a code to take their assessment to help you identify where your talents lie. You’ll receive a report of your unique strengths.
NOW is YOUR time.
PS: if you’re interested in exploring more of this topic and you’d like some support as you do this, book a complimentary session with me. Contact me here!
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