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Episode 2 : Playing To Your Strengths
Listen to the episode below as we talk finding and capitalizing on your personal strengths. What to do if you can’t figure out what yours are. And how to put them to work in your life.
Read The Episode
Hey, everybody. It’s Candace Rusling from Monk & Mills, your go to place for all things mindset, growth, motherhood, and really anything to help you live your own unapologetically bold life. This is episode two of our brand new podcast, and today we’re breaking down some of the steps we took in episode one. Remember that sheet of paper you got out and you wrote down all of your amazing strengths, all of the things that you are better at than anybody else that you know?
Well, one, what happens now? What do we do knowing what our strengths are? But two, what happens if you ended up with a blank piece of paper. Here we go. Let’s take a look. We’ll break it down and then we’re going to build it right back up.
All right girl. So you’re staring at a blank piece of paper. Now what. Do not worry. It is so common to not be able to see your own personal strengths. In fact, it is the number one struggle. Seriously, so I’m going to give you my best tip on how to fill up that piece of paper and all it is, is looking in your phone, so going through your text messages or your Facebook messages or your voicemails or wherever people tend to contact you, and you’re going to look at what your friends, family members and whomever else ask you for. Why do they reach out? What is the common thread? Do they ask you for favors? Do they ask your advice? Do they reach out to just complain about the bad day they have because they know that you are going to make them feel so much better?
Girl, that is what you’re good at. If they are reaching out to you for advice, you are a sounding board. If they are reaching out you for a favor, you are probably their most loyal and trustworthy friend. If they are reaching out to you just to complain, you are probably really good at seeing the bright side and lifting people up, or maybe you are really good at letting someone else talk. You’re a great listener.
I want you to go back through all of those messages and look at it from that perspective and think to yourself, if I could put an adjective on what they’re asking me to do, what would it be? Those are your strengths. If you get stuck even there, if you start to go through those messages and you just can’t figure it out, I want you to pick up the phone and call your bestie, or your boyfriend, or your husband, or your mom and I want you to ask. I want you to say, “Hey, what do you turn to me for? What am I really good at? I’m trying to figure it out and I’m feeling a little stuck.”
You know what? Your answers will probably surprise you, and it’ll also make them feel pretty amazing that they could lift you up. Do it, give it a try, fill out that sheet of paper. Then we’re going to figure out what to do with all of those words.
See, you’re amazing!
All right. So now that we have a sheet full of words that tell us all the things we are amazing at, we’re going to identify where you’re probably already using your strengths and how we can really start to lean into those places in order to expand the good parts of your life and really start to diminish those bad, stressful, anxious parts. Because you know what? The good part happens when we play to our strengths, and those stressful areas happen when our life veers too far from the things that we’re good at. It just creates stress.
All right. So take a look at your sheet of words, and then think about your everyday life. If you work outside the home, think about your interactions with your co-workers, with your bosses, with anyone that you really need to interact with on a day-to-day basis, and try to figure out if you are using some of your strengths to help further your work.
And then if you work at home or if you are a stay-at-home mama, think about what you do during the day that plays to your strengths. Now, especially if you stay at home, sometimes this can feel like, “What do you mean? I chase around a three-year-old and, hopefully, try not to get banana in my hair.” But I bet some of those words on your list are “patient” and “caring”. Or maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re “exciting” and “creative” and those types of things.
So instead of digging your heels in at home and trying to have the days that you think should function the way they do, why don’t you figure out a way that you and your kiddos can use your strength to have a way better day? And going back to if you’re someone that works outside of the house, think about how you can play to your strengths in the office because I promise, as soon as you do, as soon as you start to lean in and really push towards what you’re good at, work will not only get easier, but people will really begin to notice because confidence shines when we feel good about ourselves.
All right, so now we know your strengths. We know we’re you’re already using them, or at least where you could be. And we know that you should really be leaning into it. But here’s the biggest question: Why? Why is it so important? How is it going to change your life if you start playing to your strengths? Well, think about the round peg, square hole analogy. So many people try to change the shape of themselves in order to better fit into their surroundings. We hide little pieces of who we are, we suppress certain abilities or desires so that people will see us as someone who fits into whatever mold we’re trying to fit into. But here the thing: Changing ourselves doesn’t really work for that long, because remember our strengths are our strengths, and they are running in parallel with our true desires. If we try to cover them up, in the long run they always kind of peek back through. And people around us are pretty smart, most of the time they can see that what you’re doing doesn’t quite fit.
But here’s the coolest part. When you embrace your strengths and show the people around your true strengths, what you’re really good at, well guess what? They start to change in order to accommodate it. The whole changes just because you stood up and said, “I’m a round peg.” It’s the coolest thing to witness, and here, let’s give you a real life example.
So, I’m going to use a traditional workplace as our real-life example. Let’s say that one of your strengths is leadership, is teaching, is showing others how to succeed, is inspiring a team. But at work, your role right now is to follow and maybe people lean on you and people know they can count on you, but there’s no real leadership in our role. Most people would keep their head down, do a really good job, and hope that their bosses give them a chance one day and then probably get really frustrated and think to themselves, “No one’s giving me the opportunity. No one’s giving me a chance to get promoted or run a team or be a leader.” Well, here is the thing, not a lot of things in life happen on hope. It’s sad and so very true.
Walk the talk
So, here’s what you got to do. You got to start acting like a leader. You want to be one? Act like one. Stand up and help your co-workers. Give to give. Start to show people what your true strengths are. If your role at work is to fall in line and you choose every day to fall in line, then guess what? Your role will not change because you are showing them that you’re good at it and that’s what you want. If you want more, you have to give more, and show more, and be more. So, playing to your strengths is really just leaning in to who you really are. It’s showing the people around you what you’re good at so that they can let you do that. People are not mind readers. They cannot guess that you really want to lead a team.
So, how is it going to change your life? It’s going to change everything about you. It is going to help elevate you to exactly where you want to be. It’s not overnight. Change takes time. Remember that changing the shape of who you are is just not an option. But if you begin to show everybody what you really want and what you’re really good at, they will start to change the shape of your surroundings for you.
Find all of our podcast episodes, transcribed for readability, over here.