I spent the morning yesterday with an amazing group of women, speaking on my favorite topic: “Get a Life! Cultivating Our Values and Dreams.” I was jazzed from the moment my eyes opened in the morning because there is no topic I love more.
Here’s why: because I know every person in the room has something special to bring to the planet. Every person I’ve met has proved that to me. And my passion is helping people find what that is!
But the flip side of that passion is this: it breaks my heart to see women in every group I visit struggle to answer my opening question, “What are you great at?”
Yesterday, over half the audience sat there with a blank look on their faces. Some actually shook their heads as if to say, “Nope. Can’t think of anything.”
Really? Not ONE thing? (I’m the incredulous one at that point.) And then I get mad. Not at them, but at the fact that somehow life led them to believe a lie. And then my heart breaks. Because until that moment, they’ve been missing out on something precious. And the world has been missing out too.
So, what are YOU great at? If the answer is a struggle, read on…
Ask yourself, “What is easy for me?”
The answer is a clue to your strengths. A strength, by definition, is something you do really well, just about all the time, with little effort. It might be talking to people, thinking analytically, being able to organize things, a intuitive knack for creating things, or the fact that you think of a hundred ideas a day about life and whatever you’re doing. Write down the ones you most often see in your life and start to look for the extent to which they play out.
Ask yourself, “What bugs me about me?”
…or “What do people tease me about?” The answers to this are also clues to your strengths! Does it bug you that you constantly think about the future? You’re probably have strengths in areas of vision or big-picture thinking. Does your spouse get annoyed at how long you take to make a decision? You’re likely a strong analyzer, and want to make good, informed choices in life. By looking at the unappreciated strengths in our lives and turning them around, we can begin to understand our strengths better.
Learn more about strengths.
Much available personal growth material energizes us by inspiring us to dream and live different, more boldly. But it can also create a culture emphasizing strengths skewing heavily to the social, dynamic, and influence end of the strengths model. This leaves those of us with “quieter” (but incredibly important!) strengths, feeling like we have to become someone different to make a difference. By learning about all the strengths out there, we gain confidence to succeed doing what we naturally do best. Here’s one book to get started: Now Discover Your Strengths.
Get a strengths-buddy.
Everything’s better together! So grab a friend and start the journey as a team. Being able to bounce ideas off each other and have their affirmation helps solidify your sense of ownership of strengths about which you’re just learning. A buddy can also be a support to you as you step out more intentionally in your strengths and discover your unique version of them through experiences* along the way.
Start using your strengths.
This means two things: say “Yes” to more of the things that employ your strengths, and say “No” to more of the things that don’t. By intentionally investing in more of the things that you naturally do well, you invite more enthusiasm, efficiency and energy into how you live. It creates a positive spiral. And it opens the door for God to work in you in ways that are “abundantly beyond all that we ask or even imagine, according to the power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20b).
If you’d like more information on discovering your strengths or tools to live them more intentionally, let’s talk! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or to schedule a complimentary introductory coaching session!
*also known as “mistakes” 🙂