Saturday, July 21, 2007

What Strengths?

It's a tough one for most people. What are you good at? What do you love? What are you good at that you love? Herein lie your strengths.

In "Now, Discover your Strengths," Buckingham and Clifton say the following: "Our talents come so easily to us that we acquire a false sense of security...Doesn't everyone want to avoid conflict...Can't everyone see the obstacles lying in wait..."

No, not everyone wants to avoid conflict. No, everyone cannot see the obstacles lying in wait.

My son says stuff like this all the time. How was the test, I ask? I did really was easy. I ask, did everyone do really well? No, he says. Well, then it couldn't have been that easy, could it?
I explain, it was easy because you knew it by way of your natural abilities, understood it through your history of hard work on the subject, or studied and learned it by putting in a lot of sweat and perseverance.

This propensity of many of us to explain away our successes--it was easy, they were just being nice to me--takes away our power. But a's a whole different story. Then we're stupid, will never get it or can never do it. It's a lose-lose analysis.

It's not conceited or narcissistic to acknowledge our strengths and consciously try to use those strengths. It's undermining and self-sabotaging when we minimize our abilities and fail to capitalize on our strengths.

Just try it. Relish your success. Savor it like a great piece of chocolate (okay, or a fine wine or cigar). Milk it for all it's worth.

Yeah, we fail too. Analyze it, learn from it and move on. Take divorce, one of the great equalizers and most humbling of experiences. Speaking as an expert in this matter, I know more women (moi included), who have taken the divorce experience and moved their lives forward in remarkable ways. The ability to bounce back is a personal strength. If you've got it, bravo. If not, figure out what you can use to move yourself ahead. It's worth the trip.

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