As mentioned last week, learning about your strengths is just the first step. The next step will be to understand the right balance of the strength and weakness and turn them into your natural superpower. You will use this super power to create the building blocks towards your new best self and your new best life.
After taking the Clifton Strengths Finder 2.0 Quiz through the Gallop website, my personal top 5 results were Futuristic, Activator, Command, Focus and Achiever. As you can only imagine, these five strengths put together make up a pretty powerful personality. If you have ever met me, I come across very confident, strong and powerful. I seem very assured and yes, without even realizing, I command on all fronts.
Many people are surprised to meet me in person and realize I come in just shy of 5’3. I have come face to face with politicians and powerful executives without any hesitations. The truth of the matter is that I had not been raised to embrace these strengths but instead, due to culture, gender, and my conservative religious community, my strengths were denied, dismissed, and ignored by those around me and tragically, even by me. I was not celebrated for the strengths and the natural leadership qualities.
My journey after taking the Strengths Finder Quiz was coming to realization that these strengths are just that, strengths. Strengths which would be highly esteemed, encouraged and developed in a man but in my personal world as a first-generation immigrant, woman and a woman who grew up in a fundamental Christian environment, my strengths were not viewed positively nor embraced but deemed as a threat and perceived as insubordination at times.
I’d like to share a story of when I was about 5 years old. I had in my mind that I wanted and needed a pink pencil sharpener. I asked my dad. I asked my grandmother. I begged my mom multiple times and each time, they all said no. Well, it turns out I possessed these various strengths even as a 5-year-old. I was so focused on having that pencil sharpener that I knew I would achieve this goal no matter the cost.
You can already imagine where this story is headed. Yes, I took money out of my mom’s purse and went and purchased the pencil sharpener. I’m not saying it was right for me to steal from my mom to get something she told me no to but there was no logical reasoning in my 5-year-old mind why anyone would say no to a pencil sharpener.
I recently had a chat with my mom regarding this incident and her explanation was that she knew we were immigrating to the States and didn’t want to add one more thing to all the items we were already taking with us on the move. She said she had planned to purchase one for me once we got to the US. She did not share with me her intentions and maybe as a 5-year-old, I may not have accepted her reasoning. When I think about my 5-year-old self, I think all I heard was no and only saw the roadblocks to my end goal. The activator in me got super focused and needed to achieve my goal. And yes, I did.
You can clearly see the dark side of our strengths even in my simple story. I have some naturally strong tendencies and a need to accomplish the task before me. In the mind of a 5-year-old whose frontal lobe had not been fully developed, all I knew was that the money was in my mom’s purse, and I knew how to get the money so that I could get my pencil sharpener.
Mom, of course, caught me sharpening some pencils and asked me who got me the pencil sharpener. I told her some lie. And she knew I was lying. So, she did what was right. She and I took a walk to where I purchased the pencil sharpener and she made me return it. Kicking, screaming and probably wailing, I took the pencil sharpener back.
Now as an adult, I wish mom and I could rewrite this story together. I wish mom would’ve worked with me and my natural tendencies to figure things out and achieve whatever I set my mind to. I wish these strengths could have been fostered. Now that the strengths have been named, recognized, and celebrated, I completely embrace them. Hindsight, I can see that without having named these strengths, I was walking in a fog without clear direction of the path towards living my best and authentic life.
I am now very clear and will not allow anyone to minimize my strengths, but I understand the flip side to these strengths and continue to try and live within a happy balance. I know well that only being focused on the future can be a downfall if I am unable to hold a conversation about the present. If I cannot meet my client in their current grief, what good does it do to encourage them and show them how their futures can be bright? What good is it to be so focused that I cannot see that my clients or my team are having a rough time and just need me to sit with them and stay in their sadness or their upset?
This is where being curious and open also comes into play. As we are curious about our strengths and open to the weaknesses, so many good things can come out of this. We can get clear about our future as we focus in on what works and what doesn’t. We can figure out what serves our best lives and what doesn’t. As we live life within our strengths, we build confidence, as we build confidence, we become curious to try new things. These new things can be the next steps to lead you to living your best life.
Take the brave steps with us to acknowledge, celebrate and work within your strengths. Let’s find out how we can take the good out of the strengths and balance out the dark side of these same strengths as we go through The One Year Journey. Connect with us and share with us your strengths. We want to celebrate and acknowledge them with you!
Next week on Build Your Foundations, From the Future to the Present – The next 1-3 Years. We hope you will join us and be a part of the conversation as we continue in The One Year Journey series.
The One Year Journey is currently available for those who are at a crossroad in their lives and are ready to launch into a year-long intensive series of one-on-one coaching to help you go from not knowing what may come next to becoming your best self and living your best life.* We are also very excited to share that Group Coaching and Support will be available in the near future.
* There is no guarantee of becoming your best self and living your best life. Foundations Divorce Solutions and Foundations Coaching Group will help guide our clients through the journey, but the change will happen if and when the individual does the hard work themselves. The results will not be an overnight transformation. This process will take at least one full year and as the tools learned are implemented into a daily practice, change will continue, and growth will continue to happen.