Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Here we are, almost 7 full weeks into 2014, and my plan to post on my blog more regularly is a bust!!  But today is all about love, and I really do LOVE writing, so here goes…

Unfortunately, I don’t have anything earth-shattering or profound to share.  In fact, this is an area where I really struggle.  The things I want to write about have the potential to be taken personally or out of context, so I have this habit of writing all my thoughts and feelings only to hit <DELETE> before I can hit <PUBLISH>.

Does anyone else have this issue?

A couple of weeks ago, I threw out a question to contemplate on Facebook:

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I often ask myself that question: stay silent or speak?  The dilemma comes from this overwhelming sense that when I share a suggestion or recommendation, an idea or vision, it is seen as criticizing and negativity.  I walk away feeling like “that” lady who is always complaining and never being “part of the team.”  I really am a very positive, cheerful person.  I am also a bit of a perfectionist and a romantic, and I truly believe that there is always room for improvement.  There are no limits in this world…we can always strive to be great-ER.

I’m not saying that we are not great right now.  I’m not belittling anyone’s efforts or hard work.  I just think that we can keep driving, keep trying, keep moving onward and upward.

I recently had an opportunity to participate in Gallup’s Strength Finder program.  I took a “quiz” online that consisted of 177 questions in which I had 20 seconds to choose my preference between two (sometimes unrelated) situations.  Upon completion, it took about 90 seconds for the program’s algorithm to pin the tail right on this donkey!!  The program is centered around the belief that every person has 34 common strengths, but the strength of the strengths varies from person to person.  Typically, a person’s top 10 strengths, or themes, will move around within the ten spots yet stay present and consistent throughout their life.  The top 5 themes really pinpoint how that person functions, how they relate, and and how they attack/tackle their world.  Knowing and understanding one’s top 5 themes allows one to live within their strengths rather than fight their natural personality and talents.  In other words, we can study what we do right rather than trying to fix what we do not.

This belies the idea that we should always focus on our weaknesses to bring them up to par.  I hate focusing on my weaknesses!!  I find it contagious, and in no time flat, all I can see are my failures and shortcomings.

“Ain’t nobody got time for that!!”

Truly, I feel crippled and useless when all I can see are my disappointments and let-downs, the things I didn’t do well, and the projects that were a flop.  So, naturally, I was eager and excited to read through my signature themes from the StrengthsFinder survey.

Drum roll please…

1.  INPUT – I am inquisitive and like to collect things, particularly information.  SO TRUE!!  I am an information craving, know-it-all pack rat.  I thought that was a definite downfall of my character, NOT my #1 strength!!

2.  STRATEGIC – I see patterns and ask too many “what if” questions, and I’m not all that patient with other paths once I see the route I want to take.  YEP!!  I am a steamroller who takes no prisoners nor notices the carnage I cause along my mission.  Again, shouldn’t this be a weakness, not a strength??

3.  INTELLECTION – I like to think, I like mental activity, and my introspection sometimes leads to feelings of discontent when I compare what I am actually doing with the myriad of thoughts in my head and the ideas that my mind conceives.  Again, they hit the nail right on top of the head, but this one is hard for me to tease about.  This one often leads to feelings of failure for me: I have ideas, I have skills, and I have talents, but if I’m not using them to better the world and actually doing anything with my ideas, then perhaps I am nothing at all?

4.  RESPONSIBILITY – I tend to take psychological ownership for things I commit to do, and I feel emotionally bound to follow those things through to completion.  I feel responsible for helping, I have ridiculously impeccable ethics (and fight the urge to impose them on everyone else), and my willingness to volunteer leads me to take on more than I should.  WOW!  What is left to say about this one…

5.  RESTORATIVE – I love to solve problems, I enjoy a challenge, and I prefer practical problems or conceptual ones over personal ones; I get a wonderful feeling from bringing things back to life.  Now this one I like!  How bad can I be if I yearn to restore the world and bring it back to life?

Interestingly enough, I did NOT have the themes of COMMUNICATION, CONSISTENCY, EMPATHY, RELATOR, or WOO (Winning Others Over) in my profile.  And while I wish I was that sweet-natured nurturer with the quiet voice and the amazing listening skills who everyone loves to be around and gravitates toward at every gathering, the reality is that my strengths are – well, ME.  If I can see the good in that, I can spend this lovely Valentine’s Day remembering that while it is easy and fun to love my Coach and my kids, loving myself might just be my greatest gift to them.

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HAPPY, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!

Lots of love and hugs,

Ashli

PS:  Please let me know if you use the hyperlinks above to try out the StrengthsFinder and what you think of the results!  And, of course, don’t forget to LOVE YOU!!

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