Picture a moment in your life when you were feeling stressed, agitated, bored or anxious. What were you doing? Who was with you? Were you alone or surrounded by people? Were you talking or was someone talking to you? Were you working on a project? What type of project? What was your environment like? Were you inside or outside? Were you being bombarded with questions? 🙂 Just kidding. Consider the vivid details of that moment.
Now, picture a moment in your life when you felt energized, happy, unburdened, or smart. What were you doing in this moment? Again, consider the vivid details. Were you reading? Cooking? Writing? Listening? Who was with you? Was it loud or quiet? A fast-paced experience or a slow-paced experience? Put yourself back into that moment and try to remember the details of what was happening.
Do you have both scenarios in your head? If not, try thinking a little longer. These moments will come to mind. To give you another tip: Think of a moment where you felt like if you had to endure what you were doing for even another 5 minutes, you would go crazy and lose your mind. Now think of a moment where you realized hours had passed but you didn’t even care because you so enjoyed what you had just been doing or who you had just spent time with.
Do you have your two moments now pictured? Okay, good. You have just determined the difference between your Strengths and your Weaknesses. A Strength is an experience that energizes you, and a Weakness is an experience that drains you.
I just completed a book called Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently, by author and speaker Marcus Buckingham. Before you say it – Yes, I realize he is a man writing a book for women, but I can assure you, he knows what he is talking about. 🙂
His description of Strengths versus Weaknesses was an entirely new twist on the topic. Until now, I have always viewed a Strength as something one is good at and a Weakness as something one does poorly. I like his definition more. Since reading Marcus’ book, I have paid close attention to the details of the moments that make me feel energized or make me feel drained. His concept is that if we are aware of what energizes us and do those things, the things that drain us will begin to fall by the wayside. We will end up feeling happier and more successful. Sometimes it may involve actually quitting something we have committed to. I know! The horror!
I’m going to get real personal for a moment and share some of my Strengths and Weaknesses.
Listening to another person share his/her Story
Sitting in a coffee shop and writing
Making silly dance videos
Having someone tell me I inspire them
When I laugh so hard my cheeks hurt
When I am able to take charge of a group of people and raise their spirits
When I am starting something new
When I don’t know what is going to happen next – I love the mystery!
Doodling cartoon characters
Crying – yes, I actually enjoy crying
Riding bikes with Josh – 35 miles or less
Dealing with the inconsistency of others
Being expected to do something in detail that I have never done before
Being expected to develop a system or a process to increase productivity
Maintaining a project – I love organizing the first time, but do not like the maintenance
Feeling like I am not allowed to say, “No”
Navigating for Josh while he drives
Cooking, baking, finding or shopping for recipes
Riding bikes with Josh – 36 miles or more – interesting… this was a Strength of mine, until it reached a certain point. Then it became a weakness!
A Strong Moment – Zumba Dancing @ Rosa Park Circle
– Outside in the sunshine
– Not alone – same goal/experience as those around me
– In public – bystanders present – I enjoy dancing Zumba much more in public when people are watching
– Feel the music and my body can’t help but move to the beat
– Doesn’t have to be perfect or rigid – no judgment
– Some moves make me feel sexy
– Fitness w/o feeling like work
– Kate’s (instructor) personality: Energy; spunk; confident; attitude; joy
I have started eliminating the commitments or experiences that drain me and it has allowed more time to do what energizes me. I encourage you to pay attention to the details of these moments. As you begin to filter out your Weaknesses, you will naturally become happier and more successful!
What is a Strength or Weakness that you have realized in your own life? Please share in the comment section.