Focus On Your Strengths

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I am not unique in that I grew up in a family where my “strengths in excess” were commented on more often than my strengths used well.  I was, sort of, always in trouble.  And, often, deservedly so.

I never really had a teacher (with the significant exception of Miss Ethyl Lee Rehms in the 5th grade) who championed my abilities or made me feel like a stand out in any area.  I was placed between two strong soprano voices in high school concert choir so I could experience “the depth of one and the quality of the other.”  The result?  I couldn’t hear myself.  No guidance counselor or family member or relative ever sat down with me to discuss my future or to tell me I could succeed… in anything.

Mainly, I got scolded for what I didn’t do.

As I was beginning to discover some ways I could succeed (retail sales, living independently, going back to school at Texas Tech full-time while working full-time), I met Dave and we got married (just about that quickly).  He loved my strengths—loved my out-spokeness, my decisiveness, my strong will, my concern for others, my humor, my willingness to take risks.  We are a pretty good team; noticing and commenting on and enjoying what we each did well.

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Then… we found ourselves -chose to be there, I presume, without full knowledge or wisdom and definitely against some counsel from family- in a church that focused on our lacks.  There were meetings and discussions around, mostly, my weaknesses.  I was too opinionated, too independent, too loud, too questioning.  I actually tried to be quiet for a while… it was not good.  Our home was weird, not real, not happy, not celebrating the strengths that were each of ours.

I gave up being quiet and started talking again.

There came a day, later, that I more fully shed that bag of burdens.  I stopped carrying around all the ways I was not gifted, not able, not interested.  I started recognizing that I was not “God’s first mistake” with only weaknesses and lacks.  I studied behavior style and personality and started teaching DiSC workshops and I began helping other people discover their strengths.  I separated myself from the negative influences and started looking for ways to be a blessing. I started using my strengths.

In my studying, I learned a deep truth that I share anytime I can.  It is that we need to know our strengths so we can develop them to be a benefit to others.  If I am always focused on trying to be strong where I am weak, it is a severe misuse of my energy and of the time I have been given.  If I recognize and learn to maximize my strengths, it is a wonderful use of what has been given me and an investment that will bring much more substantial reward than trying to be something I am not… and never will be.

We need to know our strengths so we can develop them to be a benefit to others.

Someone commented the other day that I am always happy.  You know, I am.  I am still strong willed and opinionated and a risk taker.  I still make decisions without all the information, at times.  Still would rather focus on the beginning and the process than the details and the rules.  Granted, there is a lot of experience and wisdom and maturity that I have now that I didn’t thirty years ago.  But, I know that learning to maximize my strengths and manage my weaknesses is a better way to success.

What stories do you have about someone championing your strengths? 

 

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks Debbie! This is something that I am working on myself.

  2. Ahh, love this post. I think I am finally learning to appreciate my strengths and love who God created me to be. I do not want to use all of my energy trying to be something I am not or trying not to be something I am.

  3. Doesn’t seem like something you “work” at…more like discovering you can fly and going for it out of joy.

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  5. I love the term, “Championing your strengths” that you used, Debbie. In my case, I needed help recognizing my strengths so that I could take my attention off of my weaknesses. That shift in my focus has been freeing and made a huge difference in my life.

  6. Using this in a sales discussion grouo tokorrow morning with a group of co-workers. Thanks for the thought provoking words. Can be applied and analyzed on so many levels!

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  8. Pingback: Group Dynamics: The Weak Can Control It

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