Three Ways to Claim Your Strengths

Most people don’t have a clear sense of their strengths and who they are. Instead they have a picture of themselves that may be limited by failures from their past, by the voices they hear from the past, or by their own limited self-esteem.

My father was a very intelligent man and yet regardless of his numerous achievements, he was unable, like many of us, to escape his internal voices of worry and concern about things large and small. He always wondered if he’d done the right thing; if he’d made the right choice. As his health faded, he started to receive letters from those who had been touched by him in some way. After he died, we received many more notes that he never had the opportunity to read.

One thought always struck me:

How would his life have been different if he had heard from these people much earlier in his life? Would he have been able to claim his strengths and his power in a deeper way?

I believe his life and the lives of those in our family would have been very different.

Strategy 1: When someone’s actions touch you deeply, take a moment to write a note to share your gratitude with the person. Take a moment this holiday season to brighten someone’s day with a memory, a thank you, or an explanation of how your life was changed by something they did.

• Don’t assume they already know how wonderful they are.

• Don’t assume they even remember the moment that’s burned into your psyche as a turning point in your life.

• Share the details of the situation

• Share your heartfelt emotions

• Share who you have become

• You never know how much it will mean to them to hear how they’ve impacted your life.

Strategy 2: If you are on the receiving end of such a note, you may be tempted to downplay or minimize your part because you feel embarrassed or awkward about the whole thing. Instead…I encourage you to do the following.

1) Say Thank you! You don’t have to say anything else at that moment.

2) Save the note in a safe place. Create a folder on your computer or in a file drawer where you can return to read the note at a later point in time.

3) Fully acknowledge to yourself the part you played in improving someone else’s life. Integrate this information into the picture you hold of yourself.

4) Find other opportunities to impact people’s lives in a powerful, positive way.

Strategy 3: If you would like to be proactive and gain new insights about how others see you, send the following email to 4-6 people you trust.

Dear ________,

My coach has given me an assignment that I hope you can help me with. Please reply to this email and include a list of up to 10 characteristics you admire about me. Thanks so much for your help. I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness. /signed by you

When you receive you lists back, you are likely to be surprised! Some of the characteristics may be in line with how you see yourself and some of them may be completely unexpected.

Use your insights as a catalyst to update how you see and think of yourself. Several months from now, take another look at the lists. Has anything changed in how you perceive the list or yourself?

Although quite simple, this activity provides profound inspiration and insight if you are learning about who you are and how you are perceived in your world.

Each of these strategies can help you claim your strengths, which enables you to live a happier, more fulfilling life. When you are content with who you are, your partner and family benefit as well.

Copyright (c) 2006 Transition Dynamics Enterprises, Inc.