How can you leverage your personal strengths to create the life you want? That’s exactly what human diversity coach Lynda-Ross Vega is guest posting about today. She is the co-author of Unlock the Power of Your Perception with clinical psychologist Gary M. Jordan (shown together in photo). Below, find three easy steps from Lynda-Ross to lean into your natural strengths, gain confidence, and enhance abilities.
Discover 3 easy steps to lean into your natural strengths and gain new confidence and abilities
Guest post from Lynda-Ross Vega
The world is full of people who will tell you what you are lacking or doing wrong. And we are all susceptible to giving this feedback more credibility than we should.
Why are we so quick to see our shortcomings and not our strengths?
The answer is negativity bias. This bias towards the negative isn’t because we live in cynical times; it’s something handed down to us from our very early ancestors who knew being alert for things that might harm them (i.e., negative things) was the difference between life and death. In today’s world, our brains naturally prioritize negative input over positive input.
Because of negativity bias, we hear and remember criticism and correction more acutely than praise and validation. We give negative feedback more weight and significance than positive feedback, and we tend to believe negative input to be more truthful about us.
When you focus on your shortcomings, the unintentional impact is you downplay your strengths, and they slip into the background due to lack of attention. Meanwhile, you feel tired and frustrated as you continue to chase the things you think you need to fix.
Intentionally focus on your strengths, and your shortcomings will fade
There are amazing benefits when you allow your natural strengths to be front and center. Research shows people who value their strengths and use them in their daily lives are happier… a lot happier! People who lean into their natural strengths feel more grounded, they set realistic expectations for themselves, and feel successful in their accomplishments more often.
When you focus on your strengths, your perceived shortcomings will take a back seat. You’ll find that some of them aren’t real, and others will dim in importance.
3 easy steps to lean into your natural strengths
This simple process is an easy way to shift your focus to what you do well. The more you value and use your strengths, the more they grow and deepen!
Step #1: List 3 things people compliment you on
Take a few minutes to jot down three things your friends, co-workers, and family compliment you on, things you enjoy doing. Trust what pops into your mind first.
Don’t overanalyze it. Don’t dismiss something because you assume everyone can do it (if it’s easy for you, it’s probably a natural strength)!
Step #2: Identify where you use them
Awareness is critical to claiming your strengths! Look for opportunities in the next two weeks to do those three things you listed more often. Take a moment while doing one of those things to acknowledge your enjoyment and capability. Notice how increased awareness of those skills increases your personal satisfaction.
Strengths you use intentionally begin to refine and deepen. It’s like exercising and growing a muscle you haven’t used much before. It might feel a bit awkward at first, but it will quickly improve. Intentionally using your strengths is like polishing something to a fine sheen.
Step #3: Own it
Your natural capabilities aren’t really strengths until you value them. Others may compliment you on them, but until you recognize and value them, they are just something you do.
Celebrate your strengths! Celebrate the satisfaction you feel when you do your best. Celebrate the compliments you receive. Celebrate the full range and depth of your natural potential. When you do, you’ll gain new confidence and uncover abilities you didn’t know you had!
About today’s writer, Lynda-Ross Vega
Lynda-Ross Vega, co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory™ at Your Talent Advantage and co-author of the book Unlock the Power of Your Perception, has been fascinated with what makes people tick since she was a child. Her curiosity about human diversity and ways to bring out the best in people led her to a multifaceted career in banking, technology, and behavioral consulting.
She’s held roles including C-suite executive, entrepreneur, business owner, consultant, coach, daughter, sister, wife, step-mom, and grandmother. Lynda-Ross is an expert at harnessing the power of perception to help individuals and organizations implement change, empower collaboration, and develop talent.
Top photo: Lynda-Ross Vega and Gary Jordan, co-authors of Unlock the Power of Your Perception. Photo used with permission of Lynda-Ross.