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Shifting Perspectives on the Strengths We Think We Lack

January 9, 2019

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Shifting Perspectives on the Strengths We Think We Lack

January 9, 2019

I don’t know about you, but I STRUGGLE with making things happen. Perhaps we are never more acutely aware of this than during the season of short-lived resolutions. 


For example, I had an idea years ago about how to incorporate some of my certifications and work experience into a unique type of workshop that I hadn’t been able to find anywhere else when I did research. Last week, I received an email from a fellow coach with many years of experience on me who is launching the exact type of workshop I had dreamed up but never realized.

Now, I wouldn’t characterize myself as a particularly jealous or competitive person (though I’m sure we all have a touch of it within us), and yet I found that I couldn’t shake this horrible feeling in my stomach that was eating at me. I was SO disgustingly jealous of this person’s perseverance and get-it-done attitude. And I was so frustrated with my own inability to act on my intuition. WHY HADN’T I TRUSTED THAT I HAD A GOOD IDEA AND LAUNCHED THIS YEARS AGO?

I was suddenly reminded of when I went to my CliftonStrengths training a few years ago, where one of the activities we did was pair up with a fellow attendee to do practice feedback sessions.

 

There are 34 possible Talent Themes (often called Strengths) that fall into Four Domains of Leadership: Strategic Thinking, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Executing.

My Top 5 Talent Themes are Strategic, Positivity, WOO (Winning Others Over), Connectedness, and Communication. So I have one in Strategic Thinking, three in Relationship Building, one in Influencing, and zero in Executing.

This feels right to me since my life revolves around connecting with people, sprinkled with a bit of logic and the hope that I can inspire others through coaching and writing. It also makes sense because of my aforementioned lack of executing skills.

Anyway, I was paired up with a very impressive woman who works in a high-up position in academia. Her Top 5 included things like Focus, Discipline, and Responsibility. I can remember now how I had felt that little pang of admiration/jealousy. After all, Focus and Discipline are my number 33 and 34 Talent Themes.

To my surprise, however, she expressed how much she wished she had some fun things in her Top 5, like my Positivity or WOO. Apparently we had both been experiencing that familiar sense of fear or sadness that the grass may really be greener on the other side.

We laughed about it together and talked for a while about the traits we wanted to develop more. After our practice feedback sessions, she said something that stuck with me. She told me, “Maybe you don’t have Focus or Discipline in your Top 5, but you use your talents of Strategic and Positivity to get you motivated and follow through with your goals.”

I HAD NEVER THOUGHT OF IT THAT WAY BEFORE.

She opened my eyes to the fact that our talents and strengths can sort of be likened to our senses. When we lose one, the others tend to get heightened. Instead of staring longingly at the Executing talents I lacked, all I needed to do was acknowledge how I leverage the skills that I do have—and then keep doing that more often and on purpose.

And so, I finally understood why knowing and utilizing our talents and strengths is so important. I’ve now resolved to strategize the heck out of some of my current ideas and use my positive approach to realize my dreams so that I’ll never again have to open another promotional email and have the cringeworthy reaction of, “WHY NOT ME?” It makes me feel icky, though I’m grateful that it propelled me to take a deeper look at how to develop a happier, more productive mindset.

 

After all, given my inclination for Positivity, I’d much rather be learning of others’ new ventures and immediately think, “Yes!! Go YOU!” In the end, that is always so much more peaceful and satisfying.

So how about you!? What are your greatest strengths? How do you utilize them to make up for things you may perceive yourself as lacking? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!  

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