Reflection is a simple and powerful activity. We encourage all of our clients to do it, and when you spend a little time reflecting on how your Strengths interact with the world, you can better understand how they work, and what you might need to do to get more out of them.
I always have the best intentions to create space for myself to reflect on life, work, family, etc. But the reality is, things typically move too quickly and before I know it, I cannot remember what I had hoped to reflect on.
Opportunities for reflection are usually connected to some change: change of season, role, or the start of a new calendar.
With my Strengths of Arranger and Strategic, I like to see how things fit together, both big and small, and then see the role I play in those places. 2016 brought about a variety of opportunities, both positive and negative, which upon reflection helped me further understand my Strengths. Here is what I learned:
The “edges” of my Strengths
My youngest daughter required eye surgery toward the end of 2016. Thankfully, it was a relatively minor surgery, and she flew through it with flying colors. But through that particular experience, I felt the “dark edges” of my Strengths, especially Responsibility. I felt the weight of being “responsible” for her and, in some ways, felt like I had failed because she needed surgery. After she had fully recovered, and I could safely breathe again, I realized that no matter how much I believe my Strengths have “fully arrived” to maturity, situations can uncover those dark places in our Strengths. This was an important reminder to myself to continue to be mindful of those dark edges and to press into those responses to better understand them for the future situations.
On the other end of this spectrum, 2016 also highlighted opportunities for the “light edges” of my Strengths. Leadership Vision underwent a plethora of changes toward the end of 2016; as we shared with you in our recent post about our staff changes. While it has been exciting, change also provides challenges. It was because of these changes that my Strengths of Strategic and Communication paired together to help others within our company. This allowed them to see and hear the benefits that would ultimately come from those changes. This experience highlighted the value of having a team with a variety of Strengths at the table, and how it can help us through situations, we face together.
Together, we are in fact better
I am completely guilty of often believing it would “be easier if I did it myself.” And if I’m not careful, I can end up down the road alone, realizing I’ve left everyone behind.
This last year has proved to me, more than ever, that we are in fact stronger when we act together. As I have listened and paid attention to my colleagues more intentionally, I’ve learned so much from them, which has, in turn, made my Strengths more powerful.
With my Strength of Communication, I can tell a captivating story and create messaging in a way that is well received by others. As I’ve worked closely with my counterparts who also have the Strength of Communication (Nathan, Bethany, and Jeff), and watched how their Communication pairs with their other Strengths, it has helped me refine how I create messaging more intentionally with everyone in mind. I’ve also learned how my Strength of Communications shows up for others.
Strengths are Really Fun
The piece I have found myself going back to over and over again, as I reflected, is how much fun we have with Strengths. Perhaps it makes all of us at Leadership Vision “nerds,” but we genuinely have fun engaging our Strengths on a regular basis. This can happen within our team, friends or families.
For example, at almost all of our internal team meetings, we can turn a simple question into a powerful learning opportunity by listening to each other discuss Strengths. To kick things off at a recent meeting, our team engaged the question “Which Strength (not one of your own) do you admire most? Why?” This question was not intended to highlight a weakness within ourselves, but to capitalize on a learning opportunity by discussing the talents of other Strengths we don’t engage naturally. As it turned out, each member of the team spoke about another’s Strengths sitting at our table, which ultimately provided an unintended “kudos” for how we see each other living out our Strengths, generatively.
This fun has also created a platform to build better understanding with those we engage. And there is genuinely nothing better than creating space for those around us to discover the same joy (or “nerdiness”), with their Strengths.
Reflecting on Your Strengths
This year, I hope each of you creates space and time to reflect. Do you have edges around your Strengths that would be helpful to acknowledge? How have you capitalized on the Strengths of those around you? Are you having fun with Strengths?