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Friday, April 4, 2014

Start with Your Strengths {25 of 40 Stories}

Click here for the backstory.
I look him in the eyes and I say, "I respect you for the teacher you are. I notice your strengths and think we should build from there." I hope he can hear my reverence for the teacher and writer and human he is. I hope he knows it's genuine, straight from my heart, which is why I stumble over some of the words.

It's all we can really do, you know, start with our strengths, when we're gunning for change.

The thing is, too often our strengths seem to roll up and become our weaknesses. Why does it work this way? I like to linger in the moment, but then I procrastinate and am stressed before deadlines. I'm sensitive to other people's needs, but then I get my feelings hurt. I'm creative and have a million ideas, but then I'm a mess with possibility.

Too often our strengths get misplaced. My feelings get hurt, so I close up my heart and retreat. My ability to listen and respond to needs decreases. I drop the ball on an email, so the person on the other end feels devalued. It makes me sad and my creativity is stunted. I am stressed because of the things on my to do list, so I miss out on the moment to meet a friend for coffee.

When we're trying to become something, it's easy to lock up our strengths and try to make ourselves fit into what we think the world wants from us. But what if, instead, we pull out our strengths, dust them off, and put them front and center of the whole entire world? What if we start with what we know, what we can do, and the one thing we are really good at?

Wouldn't the world be a much better place if we recognized the strength hidden behind the weakness or the mistake? Can you imagine what kind of world it would be then?

I'm made to help people see their potential, to recognize their possibilities, and to believe in themselves. It happens in my professional life as an instructional coach and speaker. It happens in my personal life as a momma, wife, and friend.

So I choose to stack words. Words that encourage and inspire and speak truth. Because when I'm doing this -- when I'm writing -- my strengths are able to overcome my weaknesses.

It's something we each need to figure out -- how can we provide space for our strengths to overcome our weaknesses? I think it's why James wrote, "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it" (James 4:17).

This is why I choose to be a writer.