What are our Real Strengths? Are we really Strong to express and skills to understand? Many of us think that we have to say, or feel, or be something as that seems acceptable other than what we are, so that others will approve of us. We say things we don’t mean, but what others want to hear, the Pretend Strengths.
Many people fail in life not for thinking BIG but feeling small. When we pretend to be or feel what we are not, we rob ourselves the gratification of who we really are. Real strengths enable people to do what they need to do. Pretend strengths may be intriguing at first, but end up disappointing.
“Hammers run around the world looking for nails to hit”. Today we’re evolving into a society of nails that think they can be hammers because they’ve been hit. It simply isn’t true.
Many people after working with salespeople before or providing support to sales, or making products or services that others sell, think they should be able to sell. But, they can’t sell greatly. Selling requires talent, knowledge, and skills born of practice.
Many people think they should be able to interview because they’ve been interviewed themselves. Are they really good in taking interviews? – NOPE – unless they build those strengths.
Similarly, too many people think they can manage because they’ve been managed. Working for a financial institution that invests in companies do not give you the same experience as does working at those companies themselves.
Pretend strengths are figments of someone’s imagination. Real strengths are made up of talent, knowledge, and skills. Here, you g0t the pattern.
It’s true for the big differences and it’s true on the margin. Working for an agency that serves Godrej or any company does not give you the same experience as does working at Godrej or any other company itself.
Real strengths are made up of talent, knowledge and skills. It’s not enough to study a subject and think to be expert in that. Expertise is born of practice. Life is not about pretending; it is about facing our fears, facing our insecurities, knowing our limiting beliefs.
- Talent is naturally acquired. You are either born with them or not. If you don’t have them, you’re never going to get them.
- Knowledge is learned through education, training, experience, qualification. You can always increase your knowledge by reading and studying.
- Skills are gained through practice whether they are technical, interpersonal or business related. Even if you’re born with a natural talent for music, you must study to learn music and practice to build skills.
Ways to Apply Ourselves Rather Pretending to Ourselves
Know what you do and what don’t do. I’m not suggesting that your organization can’t acquire knowledge and skills. I’m not suggesting you can’t evolve into something different than what you are. I’m just suggesting that imagining you are something you are not is not good enough. Invest in the knowledge and skills before you pretend you actually are something you are not.
“Pretend until you become it, pretend until you believe it.”
By gathering feedback from a variety of sources—family members, past and present colleagues, friends, teachers, and people inside and outside work so on—you can develop a much broader and richer understanding of yourself than you can from a self-performance evaluation.
Express Your Reality
As leaders, we have difficulty facing the reality of our insecurities, and sometimes we pretend they aren’t there so no one has to know. The truth is who you are is always within you, we must find our strength and move forward into our reality with the parts of ourselves we love, and embody it with everything we do.
The self-portrait is not designed to be a complete psychological and cognitive profile. Rather, it should be an insightful image that you can use as a reminder of your previous contributions and as a guide for future action.
Live Your Greatness
When you see great talent and capabilities in others, you may feel that you are lacking something important in yourself. Remember the golden words that the greatness you see in them is actually greatness you appreciate in yourself.
You don’t have to do everything yourself. Seek out others with strengths that complement your strengths. Collaborate with them to do things together that neither of you can do on your own.
Once you know what you can do, do it. Treasure it, discuss it. Invest in it. Do it over and over again. Do it better and better. Do it with pride. Do it with honor.
While people remember criticism, awareness of faults doesn’t necessarily translate into better performance. Based on that you remember your strengths and construct a plan to build on them. Knowing your strengths also offers you a better understanding of how to deal with your weaknesses and helps you gain the confidence you need to address them.
Leading from our source actually challenges us to find our dreams, intelligence, wisdom, knowledge and creativity. Multiple studies have shown that people pay keen attention to negative information. For example, when asked to recall important emotional events, people remember four negative memories for every positive one. Leading from our source takes courage, living without pretending takes strength. When we accept all of who we are we are realizing ALL we can become.
In the end, the strength-based orientation helps you get past the “good enough” bar. Once you discover who you are at the top of your game, you can use your real strengths to better shape the positions you choose to play—both now and in the next phase of your career.