Giving your Strengths Permission to Relax
Strengths need time to relax. They need a time and a place where you can let your proverbial “Strengths hair” down, and just let them run wild, without trying to control or focus them. We have found that this sharpens Strengths, and makes them more generative in the moments when you need them to be “on” and “engaged” in a team environment.
Our team is full of amazingly athletic people. Leadership Vision has advanced yogis, college athletes, elite runners, basketball and volleyball aficionados, and “boot camp” gurus. During these athletic engagements, my fellow colleagues utilize those moments for their Strengths to sort into their appropriate places.
Truly, I am not sure how I landed in such a highly active group of people. I do not encompass the same level of competitive athleticism as my colleagues. And as I was observing a recent engagement, and hearing the messaging around allowing individuals the space for their own Strengths to sort themselves into a healthy place, I found myself pondering what I do to allow my Strengths that space. Clearly it wasn’t happening during a marathon training program.
And then I found myself asking, “Do I ever allow my Strengths the space to ‘run wild’ and relax?”
For those of you who live in the Midwest, you know we love talking about the weather. When we get a day with temperatures above 45 degrees, we are outside, often in shorts. I was enjoying one of those days on a walk, all my own. Just me and my thoughts. And I had a startling realization.
When I go for a walk, my Strengths do in fact have time to relax and settle out.
When I say settle out, I think of a bird that stretches its wings out to their full extension and stretches and flaps, then settles back down. They seem to do this as if to remind themselves of all the potential within, just waiting for the moment to take flight, knowing they have time and can settle back in for a bit.
On that walk, I processed how my Arranger and Strategic sees complex situations at both a 30,000 and 5 foot views. My Responsibility had the space to psychologically take ownership for different situations, and release others I needed to move past. And all along the way, my Input curiously asks questions about what I was seeing, hearing and experiencing.
By the time I returned, all seemed right in the world and I was able to approach a wide facet of items with greater clarity. And that feeling was exhilarating to me. I felt like the bird who had stretched out ready to take flight, but could actually settle back in until the time was right.
Defend and Protect
At Leadership Vision, a mantra we employ is “defend and protect.” A key element to the work of our Core Process and the culmination of the last step in that work, is to provide insight into how each member of the team’s Strengths are at work.
Does that team member with Intellection need time alone to think, instead of assuming they are just anti-social? Instead of viewing someone on the team as flaky, understanding their Adaptability actually allows them to “ride the wave” of whatever is happening and create stability for those around them.
Having this understanding within a team, is powerful to ensure everyone is operating within their own Strengths in a generative way.
What I hadn’t tapped into for myself, was how I create the space to actually live those things out, within myself. So while I could identify the talents within my Strengths that are alive, I hadn’t identified the best way for those talents to continue living generatively.
Your Space to Settle Out
I need space to process and better understand how my Strengths work. In case you think the only place to allow your Strengths to stretch and flex is through an athletic endeavor, think again. Although it does seem to be the choice for our team.
We’ve talked to people who get re-energized through music, art, or drama. Or some who simply get recharged by being in the presence of family members.
So while I will never qualify for the Boston marathon or complete the ultimate bootcamp, I have created a space that allows my Strengths to continue to live generatively. How do you allow your Strengths to settle? What methods do you employ to create the space for your Strengths to function in their greatest potential?