Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's Your Strength?

We tend to focus on our weaknesses, but what about our strengths?

Most people tend to focus on the negative. They try to improve where they are weak. That's the wrong approach though! We need to focus on our strengths. A rising tide lifts all ships - if we capitalize on what we do best, weaknesses vanish. Now that's not an excuse to slack anywhere and sometimes weaknesses are strengths in disguise. But we have to look at it as growth. If we continue to fine-tune our strengths, growing and developing, those weaknesses will be pulled along for the ride.

One of the exercises I do in several of my seminars involves writing down strengths on one sheet of paper and weaknesses on another. When finished, they look at both sheets - and then shred the weaknesses! Now they have only strengths on which to focus.

What are your strengths? Where do you excel? What skills do you possess? What are your most positive aspects?

Can you name one? Name your greatest strength?

As I've been reorganizing my life, trying to decide what direction to go, I kept coming back to this - what is my greatest strength? And I keep getting the same answer - I'm organized. Not anal, but detailed. I have lists for my lists. I have a detailed day planner and calendar. My office is full but organized. Papers properly filed. I excell at making a plan a executing it. Not always to perfection - I can half-ass a job with the best of them! But I enjoy the detail work, the plotting, the crafting. That is where the melancholy in me excels.

Now your turn - name your greatest strength.


Jessica Bell said...

Good point! We are all so concerned with fixing the bad stuff. Um ok, a strength. I'm good at writing sensory detail? LOL Man, that strength stinks ... hehe

Tamara Narayan said...

I'm not afraid to go after what I want: a job, an agent, or even spending six weeks putting together a humongous cardboard castle stitched together with elastic string for my kids. Big projects don't scare me. (However, talking to strangers on the phone?!--yuck)

Nancy J. Parra said...

Wow- this is a great post. I think I concentrate on weaknesses trying to make them better. Instead I need to flaunt my strengths. I think my greatest strength or weakness depending on your pov, is bullheaded tenacity. I'll keep at something until I have either accomplished it or determined that it simply isn't something I can accomplish.
Thanks for the thought provoking post!!

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Oh I'm loving the idea of writing down my weaknesses and then shredding it!

It's definitely time for me to concentrate more on my strengths. The first one that came to mind for me is persistence, though I wish I had yours and was more organized. It would save me a lot of time!


Laura S. said...

I'm like you! Organization is my strength.

Great idea writing down weaknesses and shredding it. I'll have to do that!


My greatest strength is facing anything to do with hopitals and what the outcome is going to be.
But at the end of the day one can't worry about you have no control over,

Enjoyed you post very much.


Shannon Messenger said...

Such a valid point. Thanks for the reminder.

I guess my greatest strength is that I never give up. No matter how hard something is, or how much I have to work, I just keep going. Hopefully someday it'll pay off. ;)

Jai Joshi said...

My dialogue is my greatest strength, I think. I like putting two characters together and making them talk and seeing what happens.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

TV Watching!

Unknown said...

You're right, I do a lot of focusing on the negative but I do have good points. I am a good plotter, for instance.

Karen Lange said...

This is timely, thanks so much! Needed this encouragement today. My strengths - I am fairly organized and...well, need to give this some thought.
Thanks again,
Karen :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Jessica - no, that's good!

Tamara, I used to be terrified to pick up a phone. Now I just deal.

Nancy, that one can take you far!

Coffee and Laura - let me know how the shredding goes.

Yvonne, that is so true.

Shannon, it will!

Jai, you excel at that!

Alex - LOL!

Karen, then focus on that instead.

Glad this got people to thinking!

Susan Fields said...

Oooh - tough question. I guess I'd have to say determination. I've been at this an awful long time, and I haven't given up yet. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think I'm like Shannon. I never give up. I may feel frustrated when things don't work out the way I want or I get rejections but I keep going.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

GREAT post! I love this kind of positive thinking! I wish I could rent you for an hour to come organize my office!
My greatest strength I think is my experiences. I have lots of stories of adventures to draw from for my writing.

Jemi Fraser said...

I did this exact exercise with my students the other day. I think my greatest strength is my empathy. Being a total sap has an upside after all :)

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Great post! Focus on the positive. Focus on one's strength.

I'm not organized and I don't make lists.

Jemi's empathy may be my strength as well because I most enjoy telling children and adults, when I get a chance, "Yes you can."


Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I'm thinking. I'm thinking. Will come up with something.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Loved the shredding the list idea.

I'm organized, but right now not feeling that way. But that's because I had a marathon speaking run this past week.

Will get organized tomorrow! Allyn

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Hey Allyn - always good to hear from you.

Looks like I really sparked something here.

Hart Johnson said...

Persistence. I have no doubt in my mind this is the single, most driving force that has helped and will eventually get me where I'm going. If you never quit, you've never failed.

I have a group of writer friends who all began about when I did with some original writing. 2006. I am by far the most productive, and it's because I just keep at it... I don't wait for some mythical muse to show up; I don't get distracted with Bejeweled Blitz; For three years I just WROTE, and then I added all the editing, publishing pieces to try to figure out that. Definitely persistence.

(I love the focus on the positive)

Eric W. Trant said...

How about this: My greatest strength is also my greatest weakness.

I am OCD. That's Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Some call it ADD, some call it other crap, but the bottom line is that I have a terrier's attitude towards anything I get my teeth wrapped around.

I won't let go until whatever I'm chewing is fully, completely, utterly chewed.

Just like terrier.

I told my doc once, when she was prescribing meds (I've been on-off them, but I'm functional, thank you, just a little loopy sometimes), I said:

Doc, this OCD thing is a super-power. Not many people have it, or if they do have it, they have better control over it. It's a laser-focus obsession with ~finishing~ that gets me from conception to completion when most people would give up midway.

Like any superpower, I can use it for good or evil. It can destroy me and my relationships, and it has at times, especially where beer is concerned (this is where she shakes the bottle of medications at me).

But when used for good, doc, I'm super-human. Maybe not really, but in my mind I am. And lemme tell you, I get shayt done when I have that laser focus.

Anyway, you get the picture. She laughed and said her own OCD got her through med school and I told her mine kept me out.

Your point is beautiful and valid, Diane. Know yourself. Know your strengths, and know too that sometimes what you ~think~ is a weakness can be turned into a great strength.

Anything big inside you can be used for good or evil. Remember that.

- Eric

Talli Roland said...

That's a great point - I do need to focus more on the postive! I think I'm good at commitment. When I say I'll do something, I do it! :)

Helen Ginger said...

I think mine is that, like you, I'm organized. I do let my office get stacked sometimes, but I inevitably reach a point where I stop everything and straighten it up.

DL Hammons said...

Hands down...and by far....plotting. My story elements weave together like egyptian tapestry!! :)

The Words Crafter said...

Hmmm, very provocative post. I'd have to say that I'm pretty great at coming up with ideas. The follow through I where I need help. NaNo is good for me in this respect.

Also, getting completely lost. Inside my own stories, movies, music-yeah, imagination it where it's at!

Natasha said...

That is such a great strategy. Tearing up your weaknesses. so you can focus on the strengths.
Mine is probably the fact that I am passionate about anything I do.