You’ve likely heard people talk about the phenomenon of “Imposter Syndrome” – the propensity to feel like you’re going to be ‘found out’ by everybody due to this or that weakness you have, despite your many accomplishments.
In the face of this defeating self-talk, a greater focus on strengths can provide a validation of your skill set. It feels better because you’re using the natural talents you already have inside you and bringing them out, front and center.
A Focus On Weaknesses Doesn’t Pay
You can expend an enormous amount of energy in obsessing about weaknesses and a great amount of effort trying to develop your weaknesses. In the long run, all that energy and effort is more productively spent on the things you already have talent in.
So let’s come at this problem from a totally different perspective by naming, claiming, and aiming your talents and turning them into strengths.
First, in our StrengthsFinder work at Aspiration Catalyst, particularly the assessment phase, we’re frequently naming strengths for people who are asking, "What the heck is my strength and what does it mean?”
Once you have a better sense of strengths by name, you’re still probably thinking, “Ah, so those are my strengths. How do they show up for me in a practical, usable way? ”Fortunately, being a natural part of who you are, it doesn’t take long for you to see how your strengths fit into the big picture of your daily life. In that moment, you get it. You own it. You claim your talents.
With them named and claimed, you’re ready to aim your strengths. How do you invest in elevating each of these top talents into strengths? How will you leverage them to achieve your priorities and goals?
Who Said We Had To ‘Tear Down’ First Before Building Up?
Many of us have experienced the “tear down” process as part of a leadership development program. In strengths work, you don’t have to be completely torn down via thorough, unforgiving assessment before the real work can begin. It simply doesn’t have to work that way.
In light of what we’ve been talking about as far as naming, claiming, and aiming your talents, how about starting from a more positive mindset instead of dwelling on the negative? This holds true in how we approach individual strength building as well as how organizations can work to elevate their strengths. What does your team do well? What are the talents that are uniquely yours that contribute to a successful culture?
In the case of one client I remember very distinctly, there was trepidation that I could feel as soon as I entered the room. The vice presidents of this sales organization were seated around the table and staring at me intently. Within the first 10 minutes of our meeting, one person raised his hand and asked, “OK, so when does the ‘tear down’ part start?"
I asked him to explain what he meant by the ‘tear down part.’
He said, “I know how this works. You coaches tear us down first and later you build us back up again. I just wondered when the tear down part was going to begin so I can be ready for it.”
I reassured him that there was no ‘tear down’ part of our meeting. Instead, we started from a foundation of talent where people could feel strong and build from there.
At that moment, everything changed in the room. Everyone seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. It felt lighter and more comfortable. They realized that our time together was going to be a positive experience, one in which they would feel empowered rather than scared. They were ready to engage. And just as important, they were ready to turn insights and plans into actions they could implement.
Moving From Plans To Action
There’s nothing like understanding what your unique talents are, where your contribution can be, and how to bring those talents into the world so others can fully appreciate them. But make no mistake – there’s one more key step, which is moving your talents off the paper or whiteboard and fully executing on action items that can impact your business in a positive way, over and over again. Don’t just talk about your talents and make plans. Learn how to live those talents every day so you can turn them into strengths and propel your performance and business forward.
It’s in these moments that a different perspective can be just what you need to create momentum and get great results in building a strong team with consistently high levels of performance.
Take the first step with an assessment from Aspiration Catalyst. We will help you see your talents and build a stronger team along with the framework to apply your talents in effective ways to achieve amazing growth. To learn more, contact Kim Svoboda of Aspiration Catalyst at 773.909.4546 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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