My colleagues and I are sometimes surprised when we work with groups in how little people are able to or wish to acknowledge about themselves. When we ask people to list all their strengths, they feel uncomfortable sharing these with others. Case in point when we ask people to practice a new skill, resource gossiping, which in a nutshell, is speaking positively about another person as if they were not present or when they are not present. If you were being gossiped about, we would force you to turn your back to your colleagues and listen to them describe your greatness. That’s right, we force people to listen to people talk about their talents, passions and virtues! We don’t even let people interject if they disagree with a person’s description of a strength or to downplay the extent of it! Imagine the cruelty!
So when this exercise is over, do people boo us out of the room? Quite the contrary. In the space of a few minutes, people begin to say things like:
- I feel so good!
- I had no idea how much my colleagues knew about me!
- Wow, I wish I could do this every day!
- We need to do this more often in the workplace!
- I am going to try this at my next department meeting!
That’s a great call to action. What if we did take a few minutes out on a regular basis to tell our colleagues what was great about them? What if we were able to end each week answering affirmatively to the question: did I sufficiently let my colleagues know how much I appreciated and needed them this week?
What you focus on grows. Why not focus on possibility and potential rather than roadblocks and deficits? By focusing on what you are good at, enjoy and feel truly “you” allow you to cultivate your talents more authentically, expediting the trajectory of greatness. Yes, you can make gains by focusing on how you can improve, and we’re not suggesting you should ignore your gut or all feedback from others about what could be improved. After all, improvement is key to living into our potential. However, our experience has told us most often what’s not working is more often not living into who we truly are and our gifts rather than being lacking in something we should have or should be.
“What you value in your life increases in value.” Robin Sharma