Knowing Your Strengths & Believing Them
Belief – “confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof”.
I think about ‘belief’ a lot. I think about its power, influence and impact when it’s high, and how it equally can negatively impact our actions and mindset when it’s low.
I told this story to a close friend last week and the way he responded with “that’s a good story”, made me decide to share it here. It’s about how my belief was so heavily influenced by people believing in me, particularly my mother Eileen and Father Peter.
I was home from college one weekend, sitting eating my breakfast when my dad Peter came into the kitchen holding a card in his hand. He waved the card at me and said, “Have you any idea who might have sent this? I can’t make out the writing?”. I looked at it and said “Ya that’s from Nick”. His mouth opened and he gasped, “How the hell could you know that?”.
Nick is an extremely gifted artist that lived in our cottage in Sligo over a period of a number of years while his own house was being renovated. This was about 12 years previous to this morning. I was very young at the time but didn’t think much of Nick’s art! What would a child know about art, it was all dark blobs of paint in my eyes but there was this one painting that he did that caught my eye. I thought it was cool because it reminded me of the teenage mutant ninja turtles! I responded to my dad, “Sure anyone who saw Nick’s work would know that was from Nick and Noreen”. I put my bowl in the sink and went to walk out. My dad was still standing at the door, he was looking out the window and he said, “You know Daniel, that’s not the case, that’s not just ‘normal’ to put that together so quickly, I showed that card to everyone who came into the house over the past few weeks, including your mother and sister, we had no idea who it was from. You took one look and knew”. I thought nothing of it. He said “I want you to know something, that’s a strength and you don’t know it. So many people go through life and don’t know their strengths, we should tell people when we see something that can be considered a strength”. I don’t remember exactly what I said, I probably said “whatever”, but I remembered his words.
I still don’t think knowing that was Nick’s painting and card was a strength, I just remembered it so well because I used to joke with Nick that it was the only good painting he had out of all the work he did. I guess why I share it is because my dad believed it was, that’s what mattered and he always told me when he believed in me. He believed we should tell people their strengths because so many people go through life not knowing them or not believing in their strengths! We should tell people when we believe in them, it really does have an immeasurable impact on what others believe they can do or achieve.
I also believe that we should take time to think about our identity, what shapes us, our influences and put ourselves in situations that present us with insights to how the world sees us. Of course that needs to be a safe space and from people who we trust to give us that insight.
Other simple ways to get a better understanding of your strengths, and weaknesses too of course, is to journal your experiences and look for patterns in what you find easy to overcome compared to those you don’t. Doing something a bit more formal like getting a performance coach or completing a 360 review with people you work with or who know you from different aspects of your life is also an extremely beneficial process, while I will admit it’s uncomfortable too! I think that’s the thing, these things are uncomfortable, but we need to stop and listen to ourselves and others to really understand who we are.
What has been really interesting is some of the processes we implement with daveynutrition. When working with clients brings some of these elements to light in a really positive way, it allows people to reflect on who they are, what want to achieve and we help people focus on the simple and practical things that help to get there.
Below is that painting I liked, I will buy it one day or at least get a copy!! What do you think Nick? www.nickmiller.ie
Painting credit www.nickmiller.ie