I have been feeling a bit of a fraud with strengths recently. Another way of putting that would be to say that I have been doing some deep learning!!
The lightbulb was when I was reading Brenee Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, and the section on perfectionism. About how unhelpful it is, (I knew that already!) but more importantly, she offered a different way of seeing things – about it being to do with how we engage with the expectations of others – and things you can do about it.
This started me thinking about when I had been working with one of the strengths tools that I am qualified in. (Please note – this is my reflection on how I have been working with the tool – and not necessarily a comment on the tool itself, it’s likely that others use it differently.)
I had been doing a marvellous job of helping others (and myself) or so I thought – yes, of helping people see their energising strengths, but also helping them counter their learned behaviours (which are draining) and their weaknesses (also draining) by using their strengths.
I did a great job at it – fantastic feedback from clients. However, and this is a BIG however, reading about perfectionism helped me to see that there was a risk. The risk was that I was helping others to keep an energising front at all times. I did this by encouraging them to substitute a strength for a weakness as a workround. That’s all you had to do I thought, almost to eliminate, or at least eliminate the impact of, your weaknesses.
My fear became that a result of working this way, it could be a way of continuing to look good at all times from the outside, i.e. I’m still perfect, and can present myself to you in this way, as I have work rounds for all my weaknesses!!
It could then run the risk of being like wallpaper – covering it all over, looking nice from the outside and not really looking inside and learning how to operate from an inside out, energising, personal basis – where you are genuinely thriving and not covering up!
So it’s back to basics for me – what is genuinely thriving and energising for me – not just a way of using strengths to present work-rounds and perfectionism to the outer world, to get any task done!
What are the tasks I genuinely want to put down, rather than find a work round for, so that there is more room, space and time for the thriving stuff? Where the inner core of my most genuine strengths will genuinely have more outlet?
Ugh – as ever, honestly, courage, self awareness needed here. What else? Oh yes, action! And telling people what I want to put down, so there is more room to thrive.
Easy then! How can I start?