Focus on Your Strengths
Author Brene’ Brown says, “that owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
Over the last several years, I have been sharing bits and pieces of my story with our audience to create a space for people in our community to feel safe enough to be vulnerable. Why? Because my experience shows me that when people experience the authenticity of vulnerability, they are inclined to respond the same way. Vulnerability seems to be the pathway to connection and compassion. It is the foundation of building strong relationships. At the end of the day, most people just want to be heard, valued and not judged.
Vulnerability takes courage. I know this from personal experience. I was raised to do as I was told, not ask questions and certainly was not entitled to my own opinion. This environment left me constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop or always walking on eggshells. It turned me into a people pleaser and left me not knowing how to set boundaries and communicate my wants and needs effectively. Love was conditional based on my performance. And if I failed at the performance, I then felt flawed or unworthy of being loved or belonging.
Nearly 18 years ago while at a business conference, I was introduced to the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. I was amazed and what this book and class taught me about myself. At that time, I had little sense about my personal strengths and talents, let alone the ability to understand that I could possibly build my life around them.
It was in that class that I also learned to not focus on my weaknesses, just the strengths. The concept of not having to develop my weaknesses and just be in my strengths was liberating.
WOO: Woo stands for winning others over.
Empathy: I can sense the emotions of those around me. Intuitively, I can see the world through their eyes and share perspective.
Inclusiveness: Stretch the circle wider. This is the philosophy around my life.
Adaptability: I live in the moment and don’t see the future as a fixed destination. The future is a place that you create out of the choices that you make every day.
Positivity: Generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation.
It has taken me decades to understand the ebb and flow of these strengths and how to best align with them to create the life and career that I have always dreamed of.
It is through the practice of serving others without compromising my boundaries that I thrive.
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