STRENGTHS – PART I

Part I: You are MADE WELL

So as I’m writing this I am on an airplane flying back to Seattle from a work trip in Montana.  I had the pleasure of spending the evening and morning with my dear friends from college – Matt and Sara Kegel.  They have a cabin on one of the most beautiful picturesque sites in the world, Holter Lake, which is about an hour south of Great Falls.

 Nothing like a Montana sunset.

Nothing like a Montana sunset.

After swimming with the kids and going on an amazing boat ride looking at mountain goats, bald eagles, a mother deer and fawn, rolling hills and mountains so beautiful you’d swear you died and gone to heaven (they say Montana is God’s country)…I found myself falling back into an old habit.  Once we got back inside the cabin, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  For those of you who have followed my blog, might remember that I have mentioned in more than one occasion that I am a bit on the vain side.  My vanity and insecurities popped up again.  I looked in the mirror and thought, “Dang, my hair sure looks on the thin side right now…I wish I had hair like Matt.”  I guess that’s what swimming in the lake and going 45 mph on a boat will do to you (two places you probably wouldn’t find Donald Trump for obvious reasons).

Most people and DEFINITELY most guys are too prideful to discuss or bring up things about themselves that they are not happy with.  We as flawed humans are consumed and often times obsess over our blemishes instead of focusing on and playing up our strengths.  For many years I was one of those people.  I could have dozens of outstanding qualities, but like many people, I’d generate a majority of my self-worth and self-efficacy (or lack thereof) by focusing on what I view or think other people perceive as flaws.  If you can relate to this do a Zoolander Blue Steel look for me… “Hansel so HOT right now”…(I watched Zoolander 2 on the flight to MT and actually really liked it)… “What is that, a Reading Center for ANTS!?”  Ok, enough with the Zoolander quotes.

 What do you see – a young or old lady? When you look in the mirror do you focus on your strengths or perceived blemishes?

What do you see – a young or old lady? When you look in the mirror do you focus on your strengths or perceived blemishes?

Many, like I sometime do, fall into the trap of comparing one isolated area that we feel is inferior to somebody else – whether it’s one’s appearance, skill set, trait, or circumstance.  Many take it to a very unhealthy place and base what they see on TV, movies, magazines, and now more than ever – social media as their barometer on how they should look, act, and feel.  

I’m here to encourage you to stop those thoughts.  Instead, focus on your strengths, strong traits and physical features that are unique and special compared to others.  God made you just the way you are supposed to be made.  If you are living your life constantly comparing how you look and your skill sets as inferior…snap out of it!  I don’t care how attractive or how someone looks…even Brad Pitt or Gigi Hadid look in the mirror and don’t like something about themselves.

 True beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.  Insecurities and self-defeating thoughts will only hold you back from being the best version of you.  Focusing on your flaws is an endless game that you cannot win.  Guess what…we all are flawed.  We all have things about ourselves that we don’t like…no matter who we are.  Here’s the thing, If you fall into this camp and are really unhappy with something about yourself, then  DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT and STOP COMPLAINING and feeling DEFEATED!

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Aside from focusing on one’s physical appearance, we need to spend more time focusing on what we are good at – our natural abilities – specialized skills or traits that we possess.   If we continue to compare ourselves to everyone else and think we need to be an expert in everything, that’s another recipe for disaster.  Strengths are the great equalizer.  When you meet someone for the first time, have an important business meeting with a new client, or come across somebody that possess a skill that you don’t…just remember that you have a unique set of skills that they do not…therefor they are no better or worse than you – just different!  This shift of how you perceive yourself and others is LIFE CHANGING!

A Harvard Business Review study revealed breakthrough research on how humans perceive themselves versus others.  They created a study where they introduced people to other people and asked them how they perceived the other person.  Person #1 usually responded by giving feedback like:

  • Person #2 seems smarter than me
  • They have a better sense of style
  • They seem more confident
  • They look content and relaxed

An interesting finding was that when they asked person #2 the same question, they gave similar feedback about person #1…they perceived that person as more affluent, put-together, or even “cooler” than them.  Wow, right?  Now I know why girls always say, “She looked at me funny.”  That’s probably because the girl was actually thinking, “Hmm, she is really cute.” 

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Start taking control of how you see yourself.  If you fall into the pattern of focusing on your flaws, make today the day, you spend time highlighting your strengths, being grateful how you are unique, and remember:

You can’t change the world if you’re like everybody else!

Part II of STRENGTHS – what you were MADE TO DO, I’ll discuss how you can improve your finances and overall life satisfaction by going all in on your strengths in your career.  Enjoy this AMAZING WEEKEND! 

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G Disain