Saturday, November 10, 2007

Appreciate Your Strengths

"My strengths?
Hmmmm. Let me think for a minute."

If you hesitate when asked what your strengths are, you are not alone. What happens for us is that we are so used to being with ourselves that we don't even notice an outstanding trait we have. It takes someone else observing us and actually telling us for us to realize our gifts.

Take a little time this holiday season to give others feedback as to what you see in them. It could be a great activity at a holiday meal for everyone to share thoughts on what strengths everyone has. What can be difficult is listening carefully and really accepting what you hear from others. It's all too easy to just say and feel that it's nothing. Receive the gift of acknowledgment you are being given.

Another hazard to appreciating our strengths is that we judge ourselves harshly if we don't have the strengths that someone else has. We are all very different. Assessments that measure our behavioral styles show that over and over again. There are many highly regarded tools available including those that have others answer questions about you that will give you another perspective other than just your own. Platinum Rule Assessment is one of these "360 assessments". This term, "360", is used to describe that you are receiving input from the full circle of your business and personal associates.

Recently my older sister and I took an informal assessment measuring our behavioral styles. We found out that we were exact opposites. We each acknowledged that we would like to have characteristics of the other. From sharing that experience of looking at our strengths, we walked away with a greater appreciation for each other and for ourselves.

For years I've been critical of myself for not being more "left-brained" like the rest of my family. These characteristics are also the ones applauded most in school where we are expected to "stay inside the lines" and be very neat and organized.

It's not that I'm terribly unorganized, but I have the judgment that I should do things one certain way. My creativity has me doing things in very different ways from how others might do them.

This can work the opposite way for someone who has trouble being creative. It could be very simple for that person to take care of details effortlessly. Everything is under control and routine is followed flawlessly. But coming up with innovative ideas can be a real challenge.

Some people have the strength of leadership and find it enjoyable to forge the path for others to follow. For these people, following someone else's plan is extremely difficult and confining. Others find this a very uncomfortable place to be. Their forte is implementing what the leader has started.

We need all behavioral styles in our businesses in order to be successful. All of our strengths work together for a stronger whole than we can have when working alone. If you work by yourself in your business, you may need to hire a part-time assistant to perform tasks that are not your unique strength. You can even do this with a virtual assistant who can work for the number of hours you need from his/her own office. Your success will be greater and your satisfaction sweeter when you focus on your best skills.

Take time to reflect on what your greatest strengths are. Be aware of any judgment you may be having against yourself for not being good at something. If there is an activity that is not your strength, it definitely needs to be delegated to someone else so you can concentrate on maximizing your strengths.

Appreciate your strengths. Take time this holiday season to recognize them and be grateful.

As your Exuberant Productivity coach and consultant, I'm here to support you in clearing the path to YOUR goals. Working with a coach can really help you to identify your greatest strengths and strategies to use them most effectively. You can reach me at or 877-808-5058; 602-375-0617.

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