Strengths Fails, Strengths Stories

Understanding Doesn’t Equal Perfection

As someone who’s always driving to do better and expects instant results from my efforts I sometimes have to step back and remind myself that just because I know how to do something that doesn’t mean I’ll execute it perfectly the first time I try to apply it.

This comes up a lot with writing. The basic formula for success at self-publishing, which is what I do, is pretty easy to articulate. But actually executing on that formula is a whole different issue.

With self-publishing the advice is often to write for a large market, figure out what they want, and then give it to them, preferably on a fast production schedule. Sounds simple enough, right? It is, until you actually try to write a novel. And then you (at least if you’re me) find yourself veering off the path of what readers want.

There’s a difference between knowing how to do something on paper and actually doing it.

This comes up often with Strengths as well. It’s one thing for me to talk to someone and say, “This is the way you approach the world and how it’s different from how others approach the world. If you can lean into who you are, you can accomplish amazing things.”

It’s another entirely for that person to live their Strengths and use them in the most positive way possible.

For example, Command is my number six Strength. (I call it my hidden Command because it’s hiding right there outside my top five.) It’s a very powerful Strength for me so that even though my top five are intrinsic to who I am, the Command is very much present with anyone who knows me.

But even understanding that I have this Strength doesn’t mean I always know when to pull it forward and use it and when to push it into the background. And even when I can intellectually acknowledge that Command shouldn’t be used in a given situation it’s one of those Strengths that does not like to be denied. So as much as I sometimes know I should, I cannot sit in a room full of poor leadership and misinformation and remain silent. It’s physically impossible for me.

And I’m a coach. So for someone who is new to Strengths, it’s even more of a challenge. You can read the report and nod your head and think, “Yeah, that’s me.” But to then take that knowledge and use it is something else entirely.

Which is all to say that if you’re new to this Strengths journey and you’re not immediately seeing vast improvements, don’t despair. It’s a process and a journey. When you fail, step back and analyze why. (Assuming your Strengths let you do that.) See if there’s something you could do better next time. And then do it if the opportunity arises.

Don’t let an expectation for instant perfection prevent you from continuing the journey.

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