Discover Your Own Strengths : Be a First Rate Version of Yourself

Have you ever known someone who always seems to be trying to excel at things that they really have no apparent skill or talent for? I have seen several people who have done this in the past, and it can be a painful thing to witness. The possible scenarios that can be an example of this are virtually endless. I am sure you have witnessed what I am talking about at sometime in your life. Perhaps it was that boss or supervisor you had at a job who had no real managerial or supervisory skills. Maybe you have heard someone take a stab at public speaking, or someone sing publicly that was not exactly a delight to listen to. There are even those people that always try to be the one to give council or advice to others, but their council or advice never seems to hold any degree of quality or substance.

There are a multitude of possible scenarios that occur that are examples of individuals trying to operate in a capacity that is outside the parameters of their skills and strengths. Now this is not to say that the person involved does not have any particular strengths or skills in some area. Quite the contrary, normally the person involved has distinct strengths and abilities in particular areas, but the person has not come to the place where they have recognized and followed after their own strengths. I have often seen people who have very obvious skills or abilities in a certain area that are readily noticed by everyone but they themselves. Sometimes I think that this may be caused by a person seeing strengths and admirable qualities in another person, and then striving to pattern themselves after that person. In doing so, they are abandoning their own undiscovered talents and strengths, and attempting to fit themselves into a mold that they don’t belong in. It ends up being comparable to trying to place a square block into a round hole. It simply doesn’t fit no matter how desperately they try to force it.

I think one of they keys to happiness in life is to discover our unique strengths and to pursue things that play to our strengths. Think about it. Would you want to go to a professional counselor who is obnoxious, self centered, and no where close to being an understanding people person? Of course not. An effective counselor has to be understanding, humble, and very much a likable people person. Would you want to have a lawyer defending you in court that was a shy and introverted person, who was indecisive and scatter brained? I am pretty certain your answer to this would be no. None of those traits would be what you would be looking for in a good lawyer. Much of the unhappiness in our life can come from being in a career path that does not play to our real talents and strengths. I heard it said once that if you do the work you love, you’ll never have to work a day on your life. Simply put, this implies that if we find that career or work that truly utilizes our strengths, we will love what we are doing because we will be very effective in that role, and it will be so effortless that it will not seem like work.

It all really boils down to digging deep within ourselves, and discovering that true untapped passion and strength that lies dormant inside us. All of us have unique skills and talents that make us able to do certain things better than others. What we must not do is try to be something we are not. The great actress Judy Garland was once quoted as saying, “Be a first rate version of yourself, and not a second rate version of someone else.” I think that is incredibly wise advice. We don’t have to sell ourselves short, striving to be like someone else, when we all have great strengths and talents inside of us waiting to be utilized. What we have to do is discover what our true talents and strengths are, and then put them to use. When you try to do something that is outside your real area of strength or “calling in life” if you will, you may be able to do it to some degree, but you will never experience the satisfaction of doing it effectively.

Allow me to share an analogy that may bring my point into perspective.You could take a screw driver and drive a nail into a wall using the handle of the screwdriver. It would be pretty difficult and frustrating, but you would probably be able to accomplish driving the nail. The simple fact is, using a hammer would be much easier, and immensely more effective. The obvious reason the hammer is more effective at driving the nail is the fact that the hammer was designed specifically to drive nails. That is it’s sole purpose. The screwdriver is excellent for tightening screws, which is something a hammer is unable to do. Many times in life, a person wants to be a hammer, when they are actually a screwdriver, or they want to be a screw driver, when their real calling in life is to be a hammer.

What are your hidden strengths, abilities, and skills? I know you have them. Whether you have discovered them and utilized them to the utmost of your ability is something only you can say for sure. I firmly believe that everyone has awesome and unique qualities and strengths that can be of great service to others around us. If everyone made full use of their true strengths, together we could change the world! Our challenge is to recognize what our strengths are, and what they are not. We have to stop trying to pattern ourselves after someone else. Always remember that nobody can be you as effectively as you can! Once we determine our area of strength, then we have to put that strength to use to help those we meet, and make our part of the world a better place.

Thanks for reading!

Until Next Time,

Mark