What Am I Good At?

When considering this question many people rely on others to tell them what they are good at. This approach is flawed. Just as any other would-be “helpful tool” outside of you.

Almost everyone I have ever had a coaching conversation with has read the book Strengths Finder. And yet they are still asking, “what am I good at?”

To this end, I cannot emphasize too much the need for knowing yourself and self-invention. Doesn’t it make sense to become the expert of you? If not you then who?

What you have in common with Abraham Lincoln

Isn’t it obvious that Michael Jordan would gravitate toward basketball? He’s tall, lean and practically defines the court. Abraham Lincoln was tall but he wouldn’t have liked basketball even if it was around. What Lincoln was good at was hidden, you could say latent.

Lincoln’s contemporaries automatically thought his size was indicative of a farm hand. His father especially wanted him to be a farmer and help make their farm go.

Lincoln had other ideas that weren’t well defined but still, he held them close. Once he got a taste of school and learning from his stepmother, he saw glowing possibilities and began to self-invent. He knew something about himself but didn’t quite know himself — yet. He had the raw materials to get started — like being disciplined to study and read for hours. And being deeply interested in service as an intellectual and he was curious about the world.

As a self-taught lawyer, Lincoln fell in with the societal norms of his time, trying to get ahead by writing disparaging stories, criticizing others, creating division and attempting to publicly embarrass his opponents. Unhappiness, acrimony and discontentment seeped from his writing……… But all the while he was quietly, in the background inching toward something more fitting to the image he had for himself. Then something happened.

Years after starting on the journey, Lincoln discovered who he was and who he wanted to be. He re-invented himself and shifted from trying to influence and change the world with outward efforts of criticisms to creating a better world from the inside. It was then that he created and began living into the quote, “with malice toward none, with charity for all.”

Lincoln discovered his essence and it defined him, his legacy and our history. He came to know what had been lost in society’s chase for wealth, fame and power.

Happiness leads to success

Security leads to wealth

Thoughts create our experience

What you have in common with Lincoln is destiny. You know something about yourself that no one else knows. It’s an image you have of yourself that you hold deep. Perhaps you even guard it closely because it’s fragile and if you put it out there an “insensitive someone” might just kill it.

I think we all have this in common with Lincoln and each other. So I suggest we all spend less energy fitting into what society dictates and what others want for us and spend more time creating what is uniquely you.

Let’s start that journey and:

Make your life happy and watch success pour in

Create wealth by becoming secure enough fully express yourself

Manage your thoughts and change your experience

This doesn’t have to be complex or arduous. Large things like discovering what you are good at and how it can reveal who you are and fitting that in with who you want to be are accomplished by doing the right small things over time.

Brian Braudis is a coach who writes about improvement. He specifically writes to help managers and supervisors create a better workplace. For nine years he has shared insight, approaches and support for the pursuit of your personal and professional best. Join Brian’s list and get the new report, Management is the New Leadership: How to create a breakthrough in productivity and engagement.

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