My husband, being the business guy that he is, is always listening to CDs, watching DVDs or reading books about strengthening your aptitude in the areas of business and leadership and applying them to the local church. He will occasionally share what he learns or finds interesting and I listen and file it in the part of my brain labeled, "things to talk to Terry about when I think he may be bored listening to the mundane details of my day".
So when he wanted to watch a series of DVDs the other day by Marcus Buckingham titled, "Trombone Player Wanted", I agreed. (Buckingham is the guy who wrote Now Discover Your Strengths.) There were 6 DVDs of 15 minutes each. After you watched each one, you were to go to Simply Strengths and answer questions. As a stay at home mom I don't generally think of these things as something that will help me, really.
In the background of him speaking, which is totally engaging on it's own merit, there is a story of a 7th grade boy who plays the trombone. He really wants to play the drums, but his band teacher (who looks mostly grumpy and put out through the whole thing) won't let him because they need him on the trombone. You can never hear what is being said, but again with the music choice and general story line, I was totally sucked in.
So, the underlying story line of the boy goes along and changes as Marcus delves into strengths vs. weaknesses. How we can go to a day that focuses mostly on our strengths. And our weaknesses, which are inevitably someone else's strengths, can be left to the others.
I am not one of those people who can pinpoint my strengths. As I have stated in a previous post, I am not so great at any one thing, but okay at a lot of little things. I tend to focus on my weaknesses so much so that I automatically look for which one of the awful traits my children have inherited and work on exorcising that demon right out of them. Bottom line, I'm pretty hard on myself in general.
Here are the questions he asked after the first session that really made me take a good look at the way I view my strengths or lack thereof (so I thought).
1) Do you find yourself dwelling on your weaknesses?
2) How does it make you feel?
3) Why do you do it?
4) Who asks you to?
5) Do you think you should?
Wow, seriously? Then he says if you want to know what your strengths are, which I've always had a hard time pinpointing, to go to the next DVD. Can you say eject, load and play? Now, I don't want to give to much away as I'm sure I would get in trouble since he might lose a whole $30 for the number of people who read my blog, but I do want to share this next little tidbit for any mom who wonders what her strengths really are.
First, he says no one can really tell you what your strengths are better than you. (**So, stop trying to get everyone else to tell you that you are good at XYZ.) Also, it doesn't have to be something that you are already good at! It will be something(s) that you put yourself in situations to do whether or not you are good at them, and you will get better at them exponetially as you apply yourself.
Weaknesses on the other hand you can work on, but never really master. And they tend to drain your energy level. They also tend to be those activites that you abhor doing. I tried to tell T that laundry was a weakness, so I should really quit. I was reminded that doing floors were also a weakness that he got someone else to take care of them, so I let it go.
Back to the story...
He brought up a story from his past when he was a boy he had a particularly bad stutter. But, regardless of what kind of ridicule he received, he always volunteered to read aloud or speak in a play, etc. As if he couldn't help but try it. Now, not only is he good at it, but he really enjoys it when he is prepared and in front of a large crowd.
And immediately I knew what my strengths were. I knew what books I picked out to read, the blogs I chose to connect with, the things I "studied" so that I could excel in this area. And you know what else, I'm good. Really good. Even better than that, I'm going to get even better.
My life isn't changing. I still get up and work each day at being a stay at home mom who is going to home school her kids for a while, has to make breakfast, lunch and dinner then clean up afterward. I still have mountains of laundry to do on the weekend. And, as usual, I try to glorify Him who created me to do it. But, I know now what my strengths are. And being able to say specifically what they are is really cool.
Nah, I'm not gonna share. Don't want to seem like an egomaniac or anything!
**My thoughts not his. Also, I cannot possibly give this set of DVDs justice. They are really good on so many levels whether or not you are a business person.