The strengths-based approach to assigning business tasks has been in vogue for a good 20 years. Still, as healthy - fun - and effective as this approach is, it’s an elusive little bugger (watched Notting Hill yesterday, so I might be channeling Hugh Grant-speak today.) Neglecting or postponing use of your favored talents for what you “have to do first” depletes your business efforts, as you will often do things that are best left alone or to others. You suffer, too, but that is not always enough to inspire a change in direction.
If you have gotten lost along the way, I encourage you to stop. It doesn’t take long to recover your Self, but it does take a day. The following excerpt from Business from Bed illustrates what makes seeing – and owning – your talents so difficult.
A day in the life of a perfect fish
Imagine, for a moment, that you are watching a fish swimming around in the sea. It is just doing its thing, using its fins to glide through the water, with its unique shape and color and maybe a few barnacles for decoration. You watch this fish and revel in its perfection. Now shift perspectives. Imagine that you are that fish. Can you see your exquisite, unique qualities? Do you notice how beautifully you move through the water, marveling at your ability to live, breathe, and thrive in that water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Do you appreciate your unique shape and admire your fish scales, cuts, scratches, and all? Probably not. But it does not mean that you, Mr. or Ms. Fish, are not remarkable. You just can’t see it.
We are like the fish, with one potential advantage; we have mirrors. Unfortunately, most people look at their reflected images with distorted eyes, filtering their vision with a hugely skewed sense of what is actually in front of them. Furthermore, it is a superficial image, one that only shows your surface. It is nearly impossible to observe yourself as you move about your life, using those gifts and talents without one iota of conscious thought. In that way, you are exactly like the fish, glorious just because you exist, yet ignorant of your perfection, barnacles and all.
A new year is on the horizon. It gives us another opportunity to clear away that which is not us and renew our commitment to what is.
Here's a little something from Barbara Sher about loving your talents, and not lamenting what you don't do well. (Used with permission.)