Do You Know What Makes You Shine?

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 | 2 Comments

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Not long ago I led OnStage Leadership for a very special group of creatives.  Extraordinarily talented and insightful, the group reminded me about how powerful it is to name the unique gifts that we bring.  Over the course of the day they dug deep – excavating what it is that drives them internally.  What, when they do it, gives them energy.  And as they started to peel away the layers and gain clarity, I could see them, one by one, light up from within.

I’m not kidding.

This isn’t just some “woo-woo” description, what was happening in the room was visceral.  You could feel it.  The group, made up primarily of introverts, hadn’t realized how the way they individually looked and interacted with the world made a difference.  That, while they were assigned similar jobs, they each played a unique role in what made them successful as a team for they all brought something different to the table.

Companies are filled with jobs to be done, but no two people bring the same thing.  We forget.  People aren’t manufactured to simply do a job, we each bring something special.  Instead of trying to fit complex human beings into a job box, what if we were to leverage the talents we have?

In your company, what if you had a group of people with similar jobs and similar titles who were all focused on doing what they do best?  Perhaps one person is committed to the integrity of the work, while another works passionately to simplify things, and someone else questions everything to raise the bar, and another cares deeply about the customer’s experience, and you’ve got someone who is passionate about facilitating understanding, and one sees the value in others when they don’t see it in themselves.  And maybe they have a leader who is committed to creating a safe place for her team so that they can listen so deeply that they can truly see what most people cannot.  What kind of team could this be, with such different but complimentary gifts?

What if the work people perform for their company was not just a job and but an expression of who they are?  How might that change the work that gets done?

As the creatives and I sat around the table, mentally exhausted from hours of introspection and exploration, I watched them see the power in their team – their awareness that  each one of them played a critical role in creating the best end result.  It was magical.

Are people at your company doing a job or leveraging their best selves?  Are you?  If you care about results, it might be worth asking the question:  “Do you know what makes you shine?”

©OnStage Leadership, 2015

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Upcoming sessions of OnStage Leadership:  NYC:  March 20th (4 spaces left); Dallas:  April 16th (Fullplease notify us if interested in participating or being put on the wait-list.

Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop.  Click here to read what people are saying!  If you’re interested in more information, or in having Kimberly come speak to your group on topics around Authentic Leadership, Influence, Presence, Engagement, Purpose in the workplace, or Presentation Skills we’d love to hear from you!

2 Comments

  1. Mike Cook
    March 10, 2015

    Kimberley: I love your description of this exercise. In athletic competition participants have the luxury of knowing whether they have talent for an event immediately based on results. Not so in many “job” experiences. An athlete is doing what he or she chooses to do, an employee is usually doing what their employer wants done. In my experience few employees, save for those deemed “high potential” ever have the opportunity to explore their unique gifts, and those within a narrow range established by an employer. The reference to athletes might not seem germane but it is the instance of having choice that makes it apropos. I am hopeful that those working with you on that day retained the importance of periodic reflection. If you cannot tell yourself where you excel you will always doubt your intrinsic value.

  2. Kimberly
    March 10, 2015

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Mike. I always love to hear from you! I don’t disagree that too few employers make time for employees to do this kind of introspection, although am starting to see that shift a bit. Companies are starting to realize that in order for people to be fully engaged that they need to tap into what really drives them, and the cost for disengagement is too high. While yes, most of the work I do is with those fortunate “high potentials”, I am starting to have conversations with companies who wish to explore this in their on-boarding. Imagine if people were to begin their work with an organization with clarity around why they care personally about the work the company does, what drives them personally, and the impact they want to have outside themselves through their work. Very cool stuff!
    But I don’t think the ownership of this kind of reflection lives within our organizations. We all, individually, need to take a serious look at why we do what we do and find ways to be more purposeful in our actions.

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