Many people find it hard to talk about their strengths. And there are some obvious reasons for it.
One obvious reason lies in the tendency of human beings to focus on things that need to be fixed in the sense of mistakes to be corrected or weaknesses to be improved. For instance, during project evaluation meetings, most attention is paid to the things that went wrong and what can be done to avoid that the same happens again in next projects. And at end-of-the-year-appraisals most weight is put on low performances that need improvement in the year to follow. And in my own personal experience, my father was mainly commenting on the low marks on my school grade list, asking me what I plan to do about it.
Another reason can be found in cultural backgrounds. I am Dutch, and in the Netherlands you may hear more than once a sentence like: ‘act normal, that is already crazy enough!’. And not to forget about the fact that quite some people in any culture are afraid to talk about their strengths because it may be perceived as bragging.
But there are also some less obvious reasons. In order for us to talk about our strengths, we must first be aware of them. This awareness may be lacking for several reasons:
- as people have the tendency to give criticism rather than compliments, some of our strengths may have never been highlighted to us
- if people do label a particular trait or quality of us as a strength, we may qualify it as nothing special because it was always part of us
- on the other hand, some of our strengths are not so natural to us, and have cost us quite some effort, which makes it harder for us to see it as a pure strength
- we tend to downsize our strengths, for example by labelling achievements as luck or by comparing our strengths with people whom we consider better at it
- our most dominant natural strengths also have downsides when we use too much of them in certain situations, and we tend to focus more on handling those downsides and less on cultivating the strength itself. For example, somebody who is action driven, but received a couple of times the feedback to be pushy, may be tempted to focus fully on not being pushy, and in this way minimizing the power to set things in motion
This brings us to a fundamental question: what if we focus on increasing our awareness of our natural strengths, on cultivating them so that we can benefit more from them, and on sharing them openly with others so that they can also benefit from our strengths? This process will for sure cost less effort and generate more positive energy inside ourselves and in relation with others.
And how to do all this? The Core Quality for Professionals Program of QuickLearn offers various easy to understand and apply options to practise this energizing approach in our personal and professional life!