Friday, April 20, 2012

Strengths, Part Five - Conclusion

Here are the first four posts in this series:

Part One - Introduction
Part Two - The Freedom to Redefine Failure
Part Three - Freedom at Work
Part Four - New Strategies for Life Management

I've loved writing these posts because it's given me a chance to re-process a few things. (My intellection strength at work, of course.) I know that [probably] none of my readers will have the same exact strengths as I do so you perhaps won't relate to the specific things I've learned. But I hope that you've gotten some food for thought about your strengths and the strengths of others.

One thing to note is that there are many other assessments out there that can be just as life-changing. And the StrengthsFinder assessment may not be as life-changing for you as it was for me. It was a very specific answer to prayer for me - I had asked God to help me reclaim some things in my life and help me find the "real" me. I felt like I had spent so much time trying to please others that I had lost who I truly was. So I had a conversation with God and asked the Holy Spirit to guide me to some answers and about a week later was when I got the book.

If you are seeking answers then I have confidence that the StrengthsFinder assessment is a great tool for you to consider but I recognize that it might not be the right tool for you. That's a conversation for you to have with God and to ask the Holy Spirit to show you what is right for you.

My husband recently took the assessment and he felt mostly "meh" about it. There were no significant "aha!" moments. He found it to be interesting but it didn't necessarily have big implications for where he is right now. So I guess this is my disclaimer that "results may vary." But if you have $15-25 to spare I highly recommend that you at least give it a shot and buy the book/assessment.

Another note about the strengths - and I suppose I could write a whole other post on this but I'm just ready to wrap this series up - is how it has affected my parenting. Just yesterday as I was rushing out the door with Kaitlyn it hit me that I often give in to the worst parts of my adaptability strength in the morning. It is easy for me to start out in la-la-la-whatever mode - I get up, drink my coffee, check Facebook, etc., all the while knowing that I really ought to be getting ready. And then we hit the 30-minutes-until-we-have-to-get-out-the-door mark and I kick it into high gear. RUSHRUSHRUSH! GOGOGO! This isn't a problem for me with my adaptability strength. In fact, I seem to thrive on it.

But it's a different story for Kaitlyn. She takes her time with every task. I know that this is partly a five-year-old thing (and also one of those common things that parents and kids naturally struggle with) but that doesn't excuse me from recognizing where I'm allowing my strengths to overwhelm and frustrate my daughter. I felt really convicted about this yesterday and realized that I need to do a better job of harnessing my strengths in a positive way instead of letting them run wild.

This is true not just for parenting, but for all of life. I've touched on this through this series but I suppose it bears stating again - knowing my strengths is not an excuse for me to act however is most convenient and easy for me. I'm reminded of Philippians 2:3-4:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

I am challenged to see my strengths as a ministry opportunity - how I can use them to bless others? I'm also challenged to think about the strengths of others and use that as a ministry opportunity - how can I give them opportunities to showcase their strengths? How can I help them grow in their strengths?

So, there you have it. (I feel like I should have something very inspiring or profound to say, but I've got nothing.) Now I need to figure out what my next series will be...


Mom said...

Love reading your thoughts.

Wes at said...

Erin--I think you and I are very similar in some ways, even though we only share one "strength" in common. (Also, apparently both of our Mothers read our blogs and comment on them.)

It's very much NOT "I've got nothing" as you say in the last paragraph. I think I'm learning myself that the profundity comes through the authenticity. You say that you wanted to reclaim some things in your life, and you were trying to please people, and you asked the Holy Spirit to help remind you who you are. Those are things that *I* need to do, and you having the courage to share what you did/prayed, gives me--not only the courage to do the same thing-- but the insight into how to do it. I'm *now* struggling with pleasing people, and, you know, for some reason, it didn't occur to me to ask God for specific help with that.

Not to please me, but because it isn't true, I'd like you to remove that last bit from the last paragraph about having nothing profound. Take it from one who does--Don't sell yourself short! :)

Erin K. said...

Thanks for the encouragement Wes (and for alerting me to the typo!) :)

My "I've got nothing" comment in the last paragraph is mostly because I feel awkward about how to end a blog post, and especially how to end an entire series. It feels like there should be some profound statement that wraps the whole thing up in a nice pretty bow, like "Live long and prosper" or "May the odds be ever in your favor." (But I've heard that both of those are taken. Darn.)

It is interesting to think about why I feel the need to have a "profound" ending. It's like how I sometimes have trouble with silences in a conversation; there is an urgency to fill the void with something, anything. There is a discomfort with letting some things stand on their own.

For now, I'm going to leave the post as-is, partly for the sake of avoiding perfectionism and the temptation to constantly go back and edit and fix what I've written. And partly because I want to ponder this. And partly because I still don't know how to wrap it all up. :) Perhaps I should search out a blog post on how to end blog posts.

Thanks for letting me know that sharing my experiences has given you a new way of looking at things. It fuels my drive to keep writing and keep sharing my experiences. Authenticity is scary, but the rewards far outweigh any perceived risks! (And most of the time the risks are only that - perceived and imagined.)

esther said...

I just finished reading part 5.All of them gave me something to think about. We are created by God with different strengths and personalities. And he said, "it is good." So, instead of pleasing others as I have often done, (when you get "old" you don't care as much what they think)I've worked on being who I am. Although, there is one area I wish I were different and that is able to do more talking in a group, be a fun person instead of the quiet one. Yeah, I see people who talk too much, never shut up and don't want to be one of those. Also, one who talks needs someone to listen, I guess that fits me.