Know Your Strengths
Turning the Mirror Inward
People without confidence suffer more than people with confidence. That's because they're in a state of worry, anxiety and even self-loathing. They wonder: Am I worthy? Am I enough? Do I have what it takes?
Look closely at these questions. Can they be answered? Of course they can. What's required is self-assessment. When faced with an opportunity that calls your skills, talents and gifts into question—leaving you less than confident—it’s time to take stock.
- Who are you?
- Where have you been?
- What do you know?
- What are your skills?
- What are your talents?
- How are you gifted?
For many of us, taking a good look in the mirror is uncomfortable. We’ve been taught from a very young age to not be selfish. We're told that any kind of self appreciation is narcissistic. We're warned, "Don't be a navel gazer." We’re supposed to be humble. We’re here to serve.
While these are useful guidelines, the bottom line is: We cannot serve others until we understand our own capacity to serve.
When you understand your capacity to serve, and BELIEVE the truth about yourself, then you have confidence. This kind of confidence is fact-based. Let me reiterate: Your self-assessment process confirms, validates and gives you the ability to step into the right opportunities. There is nothing arrogant about this. In fact, this is what I call taking creative responsibility for doing your best with your own life. Understanding your intrinsic value is essential! Once you take stock and acknowledge your capacity, then and only then can you begin to serve others effectively, efficiently and—most importantly—excellently.
Confidence is not something you sit around and wait for. Confidence is something you cultivate. To become confident, you get a plan and take next right steps. Answer the questions above. Be honest. Be brave. And be exhaustive.
Need added motivation? Imagine that your life is at stake. Why imagine that your life is at stake? Because, it is! You have only one life to live, and you are the key stakeholder. Take responsibility. The world needs you.
With that in mind, let's get started.
A Strategy for Gaining Self-Confidence
Self-assessment can be challenging. It's difficult to see your strengths, when you possess them. As you effortlessly operate from your strengths, you become indifferent to your unique contribution in the world. But you have some serious strengths that warrant your attention and renewed intention. To gain fresh perspective, you simply need to ask a set of powerful questions.
Do This Now
Send an email to ten people. These are people who know you. More importantly, these may be individuals who are invested in your future. Tell them you are working with a life coach. (Me!) Share that you've been given an assignment to determine your strengths.
Ask these questions:
- What strengths do you see in me?
- What character traits do I most often demonstrate?
- What innate talents do I have?
- How do you see me as gifted?
- What could you see me doing with these strengths, traits and talents in the future?
Once you have their responses, take stock. What kind of feedback have you received? What is the common thread? What would happen if you strengthened your strengths? That is the question that leads to confidence. In his book, Discover Your Strengths Now, Marcus Buckingham argues that we should not be spending our time trying to make our weaknesses stronger; instead, we should take our strengths to a whole new level. I agree.
Don't let your anxiety about sending these emails get in the way of your responsibility to capitalize on your capacity. Instead, find out how to show up powerfully in the world. People always feel honored that you asked for their input. Lean in and learn. Then, with confirmation and confidence, do the best you can with your own life.