Do you ever sit down and think, “Man, I’m really good at this or that”? Too often, it seems like we focus on what is wrong with us; we think that if we can just fix that one thing – lose some weight, master this extra skill, or whatever that thing is, all would be a little better. And there may be some merit to that, but what about focusing on what you are great at?
We tend to focus on our weaknesses or on things we would like to change. The constant messaging that we are inundated with daily doesn’t help. I know, image, desire, fear, and sex sell – they create scenarios of want. I’m in a profession where it’s all about constantly trying to help our clients attract people to their product or services, but I’m a firm believer in truth selling product because truth builds relationships better than any manipulation.
One of the foundations of truth is strength. When we focus on strengths, we have a firm foundation to build on and evolve. We all are great at something. The key is identifying what those strengths are and accepting them. Focusing on these areas of ability is a major key to having a more fulfilled and confident self-image.
I often meet people that feel they have nothing special to offer, that think there is nothing unique about them at all. One of my favorite things to do socially is help individuals discover what their strengths are. Often it’s a short process, because our strengths are usually aligned with our passions, but we tend not to view those items as strengths.
For example, I love people. I realized at a young age that I enjoyed meeting new people in any and all social settings. I can walk into a room and not know anyone and walk out with some new friends. I think part of that is due to the fact that I’m genuinely fascinated by people’s lives: their experiences, what they do, who they know, and what makes them excited or frustrated with life. As a kid growing up, the fact that my family moved around a lot forced me to get past the awkwardness and fear of new things and go into social settings with the attitude of making the best of it.
A simple “Hi,” a smile, or a handshake is all it takes to get you introduced to someone. From there, it’s really just asking questions and listening. I never looked at this “ability” as a strength; I saw it as more of a skill to avoid boredom at parties. When I started my business, I knew I would have to network, and I found my curiosity to meet people was an incredible business advantage. I would become acquainted with people on a plane, at a restaurant, at a trade show – you name it. Over the years, I have been working on ways to get even better at meeting people, and I now see this strength as an awesome advantage. I’ve been able to help my coworkers and friends to get over their fear or lack of experience in connecting as well. I have used this social ability as a springboard for creating other ways of connecting via social media, writing, and speaking. These have been natural extensions of feeling comfortable in social settings and building on them.
To illustrate this differently, I love LEGO®s. One of the best parts of having kids is being reintroduced to some of your childhood toys as an adult. At my house, we have thousands of LEGO®s (which are magical to play with except when it’s dark and you step on them), but that’s not my point. When you build with LEGO®s, you can take any color and any shape and make whatever you want. Once you start, you are always building off something that exists. And as you build, you can expand, strengthen, or do both to create your LEGO®masterpiece.
Instead of focusing on your weaknesses and how to improve on those, why not challenge yourself to build on some things that you are already good at? What is on that list? What qualities are work-related, and what ones are not? I’m positive you can take those skills and use them to expand your strengths into areas that you have been struggling with. Often, it’s just coming at those areas from a position of strength versus weakness.
So, what are your strengths? Think about what you do naturally and well, and when you have your top five, be LEGO®-like and start building!