What are you great at?

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 lauriewallin@gmail.com to find out more or to schedule a complimentary introductory coaching session! 
*also known as “mistakes” 🙂
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  1. says

    For most of my adult life, I struggled to “fix” the things that I saw as weaknesses, those quiet parts of myself that I felt should be more outgoing, more forceful. You are so right that when we love ourselves a little more we can start to see those supposed weaknesses as the strengths and gifts that they are. It was only through loving a child with his own unique set of gifts that God opened my eyes to the ones he had given to me.

    I always love your perspective on life so very much.

  2. says

    I find it helpful to start listing little things, that I don't really give a second thought to. Like, I have a good memory. Somehow that feels less loaded to me than a lot of my other strengths. I come up with a few little things, and it kind of snowballs, and I can build up to the harder stuff gradually.

    I don't know why it's OK to me to say I have a good memory, but it's not OK to me to say that I'm a great writer. Maybe because my writing is more precious to me. But having a lead-in somehow softens the blow.

  3. Lisa V. says

    Wow, great post. First time visitor through Moms Together on FB. I have to say I'd probably be one of those woman that couldn't easily say what I'm great at but really reflecting on what you wrote I actually did come up with some ideas, it seems in my life lately I have been gravitating towards those things that I feel are positive for me and are making me feel good in life and choosing to step away from those things that don't. Thanks for making me stop now and think on those things that I know I do really well. Boy do us ladies need support and encouragement in this life.s

  4. Becky G. says

    Sadly, I have to say that I've always wondered what my strengths are. I can sit here and think of the strengths of people I know, but I have no clue what my own strengths are. I have a list of what I want them to be as I'm sure we all do. Thank you for this blog. I am going to study this because I believe it will help me greatly in my life!!

  5. says

    My reaction to your question, “What are you great at?” was exactly how you stated it. I would have sat there too with a blank look on my face and shaking my head “I don't know.” I know God gives us all gifts and this is one area I am still wondering, “What is mine?” I can't sing, or play an instrument, etc. I think perhaps a big culprit is most of us don't like to “look” at ourselves! I love your blog!