“Share your strengths, not your weaknesses.”

Yogi Tea - strengths and weaknesses

“Share your strengths, not your weaknesses.”

I got this phrase on a Yogi Tea tab last week, and it got me thinking: obviously we don’t want to share our weaknesses, right? But let’s break it down. There’s more than one way to look at this statement, and it’s not so obvious.

How do you share in words?

1. How do you share yourself (or your life experiences) with others? In conversation (or status updates), do you complain about work, your health, your partner? Or do you share what’s going right in your life, what lights you up and makes you come alive?

This brought up a memory from June. Last month I had some overlap between work gigs, and I felt overwhelmed and exhausted. I went out for a friend’s birthday, and I saw another friend I hadn’t seen for a little while. She asked how everything was going, and I answered honestly that it was hard for me to approach that question without complaining, which I didn’t want to do. She didn’t push, and we eased into the conversation from a different angle. I felt good about being honest (and not giving more energy to the complaints), and she was probably glad I didn’t bombard her with my frustrations.

It’s not about being in denial. It’s about giving attention to what really matters.

 

How do you share in action?

2. How do you share your SELF? Are you doing work you excel at and you enjoy, or are you doing work that doesn’t allow you to share your gifts with the world?

Williamsburg Bridge

Williamsburg Bridge

I worked with a coach who said “don’t get really good at things you don’t like doing.” The irony is that I drank this tea while sitting at a cubicle, doing work that’s tedious and barely in my zone of competence.

I’ll explain that. To borrow from The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, there are four zones: zone of incompetence, zone of competence, zone of excellence, and zone of genius. The first zone is stuff you’re not even good at doing. Zone of competence is work you’re okay at, but so are lots of other people. Zone of excellence is where a lot of people stay, doing work they excel at but isn’t really their truest gift to the world – that happens when you’re in your zone of genius. There, you’re doing what you’re uniquely suited to do. That’s where I want to live.

Back to strengths and weaknesses. So there I sat, doing this work I found unbearably dull, freezing, and wishing I was at least doing it at home. (It’s an option for me to work from home, and I had planned to do so that day but it didn’t happen.)

Yet when I am home, with plenty of time to write or work on other creative projects, I spend that time in other ways instead. We show what’s important to us by how we spend our energy (this includes time and money). So what am I showing is really important to me? What am I sharing with the world? My strengths – writing, art, working with people – or my weaknesses? The way we spend our time is telling. And right then, thanks to this tea, I had to admit I was showing the Universe that what is important to me was this boring bridge work.

(Bridge work is sustainable work that helps you build the bridge to doing to work of your dreams.)

 

How do you share your values?

3. Do you respond to circumstances in anger, judgment, blame, defensiveness? Or do you respond from love, forgiveness, compassion?

heart street art plus feet

Turn toward love

When something happens, we may not be able to control the circumstances, but we have a choice in how we respond. This is one other way we can choose to share our strengths, and this is also living by example. (Especially if you’re around children.) There are whole books written about this angle (I recommend “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson) so I won’t go too into detail. Bottom line: in your responses, are you sharing your strengths (the values that make you feel good and strong and connected in oneness) or your weaknesses (responses that make you feel separation, loss, disconnected)? Choosing to respond from love doesn’t mean being a doormat; sometimes it means speaking your truth and honoring yourself. Sometimes it means holding silence. As Amy Oscar always reminds us in her weekly #SoulCall Twitter chats (Sundays at 10am EST), turn toward love.

Again, this isn’t about ignoring our “weaknesses” or judging ourselves for being human; it’s about making a choice to focus on sharing our “strengths.” Try it and see what happens.

 

Takeaway: How are you showing up in the world? Are you sharing your strengths or weaknesses? How can you start to shift the balance?

Writing strengths and Sharpies

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