Can Negativity be a SuperPower for You Too?

You may know I love to run workshops on how to identify, recognise and use your strengths, so that you can meet your personal and professional goals.

In these workshops, we learn how to spot and stretch strengths. We do this with volunteer demonstrations by following their energy. In addition, I show how to turnround a weakness.

Anyone who runs anything in real time, knows there is always a risk that a live demonstration may not work, it may crash or a curve ball happen. It’s only a matter of probability or time…

Here’s the story of how my most recent, challenging demonstration to date became a heart-warming success.

When I have run this before, “typical” or “standard” weaknesses offered by participants often include:

  • needing to be perfect,
  • not good on detail,
  • not good with maths,
  • procrastination,
  • needing to control.

Typically the “Weakness Turnround Formula” works really well, giving the volunteer and observers a totally new perspective on what to do.

In this recent workshop though, I nearly met my match.

I asked for someone to come forward. My lovely volunteer, Hanna, said that her biggest weakness was her negativity.

She was extremely wedded to this, and would not be moved to something more specific, or less pervasive in her life. She was sure.

I nearly died. Was this going to be the example where it didn’t work? Where it was just too tough to offer my volunteer something valuable?

I carried on breathing. I asked:

“If this weakness were a strength, what would it give you? What would your outcome be?”

She pondered. She answered with great determination: “Power to plough through and go further”.

I moved on: “If you could use your strengths to gain this outcome instead, what would you do?”

I pushed hard for three things. She replied:

  • Ask for help
  • Step back and refresh
  • Believe in her lucky number 3.

Since COVID 19, this lady has lost her job in the travel industry. Ouch. Her new temporary job in non-essential retail had now just fallen through (part of England’s second lockdown restrictions). Second ouch. Hence she was needing her lucky number 3.

I am so glad I trusted the process. Hanna found a turnround in her thinking on her negativity. She adjusted her mindset. Her energy shifted.

She found a way to reframe and refocus her negativity to reclaim and, in her words, find the power to plough through and go further.

At the end of the demonstration, we all wished her the very best in finding her lucky job number 3. I did wonder though, if she might not need it anymore, having found her own superpower.

Here’s the question for you:

It feels incredibly risky and incredibly vulnerable but, can you turnround your worst fear of your worst weakness, and find your own superpower too?

PS/ I’ve been in touch with my volunteer to ask permission to share her story. Hanna starts her third time lucky job this week as the manager in a store she really loves. I’m delighted.

NB/ If your organisation or network would benefit from this workshop – do get in touch, I’d love to help!

Since COVID I have run these workshops virtually for many networks  – Women in Transport, Rail, Construction, Aviation, the CIPD and a number of coaching and psychology groups. I have enjoyed participants coming from many parts of the world including the USA, Africa, Malaysia and the Middle East.

If this blog has prompted you to think some more, let me know. And get in touch if some coaching support would help.

Gill How loves to work with managers, executives and professionals to help them stretch and grow. She is a Master Executive Coach and Innovative Leadership Developer who works both face to face and virtually in the UK and internationally.

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Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

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Gill How

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2 Comments

  • Hanna Fletcher says:

    I am so glad I attended the workshop on how to identify my strengths.Thank you Gill, your session helped me to realize how easy it can be when you change your mindset. I am so pleased that I volunteered during the workshop…even though I really did not feel like it. I am feeling genuinely privileged to have made a lasting impression on Gill, who decided to use my weakness to write this piece…and I could not be happier to be of help. All the best, Hanna

    • Gill How says:

      Thank you so much for your comment Hanna and for being such a great volunteer; I hope the workshop has a last impression on you too!! Once again congratulations on your new role! Gill

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