What Are Your Super-Powers?
One of the things I love most about my work is that I get a chance to help people see and appreciate their natural talents. When we’re too close to something, sometimes it’s hard to see (and that’s getting less metaphorical and more literal for me the older I get). We don’t see the things that make us shine, Really great listeners don’t know that they’re great listeners, because they’re so busy listening intently. People who ask great questions don’t realize what a gift that truly is, because that’s just what they’ve always done.
So often, when we think of “talent” we assume it must be artistic or athletic – but a talent is simply a natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving – we all have all talents. We’re all talented – we’re often just too close to see them.
When we’re little, we instinctively know that we get more mileage out of focusing on what we do well. When my kiddo, Jeremy, was four-years-old he was always saying to me, “Mom! I can run really fast!….Mom! Watch this! I’m good at mazes!”
One of my favorite memories is when we had been reading this great little book together called “Because of You”
“Because of you, there is one more person who can share, care and listen. When people from different countries share, care and listen to each other, it’s called peace.”
Then, shortly after we read the book, he came home from preschool and told me about having been a good friend to this little boy at school. “Mom! I did peace! I’m good at peace!” (Now that’s a talent the world could use, eh?)
But as we grow up, somehow we get the message that in order to fit in we need to be everything to all people – that who we are isn’t good enough – and we diminish and dismiss what we do best. We get so hyper-focused on fixing ourselves, that instead of feeling more capable and effective, we feel less. We lose sight of our talents and in doing so, dissipate how powerful we really are.
One resource that can lead you down the right path, is Gallup’s Strength Finder 2.0. For a small fee, you can take a short on-line assessment and it will kick out your top 5 talents. Smart organizations are building strength-based teams and partnerships, realizing that cookie-cutter-job-descriptions rarely suit the unique humans they’ve employed. They understand that a whole lot more can get done – and get done well – if people are playing to their strengths. Oh…and they’re happier too.
Here’s what I know to be true: To bring our best selves to our work and our lives we have to unleash our talents. We cannot influence or hope to lead effectively without owning and leveraging what we do best. As Marianne Williamson says (so brilliantly that Nelson Mandela quoted her):
“There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I believe that owning and taking responsibility for your talents may be one of the bravest things you can do.
You are talented. Name your strengths. Own them. Leverage them. That’s where your super-powers lie! You may just be surprised at how good you really are.
©OnStage Leadership, 2014
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