September 9, 2015
Our strengths have countless sides and limitless ways of being expressed. By developing an awareness of our strengths, we learn ways of fine-tuning our approach from one situation to the next.
Most of us wear many hats in a day. Who we are when we roll out of bed is probably not who we are even a few hours later when we stroll into work or meet our friend for coffee. The quality and direction of our thinking, our abilities to respond to situations, our global awareness, even the ways we physically move around—everything—we are constantly changing. All day long we are moving into and out of the various roles that we play in the world.
It’s not that we have to live this way, though it may feel like it sometimes. Rather, it’s that the fullness of who we are cannot be expressed all at once in every situation. It wouldn’t be appropriate. So, we learn to call forth various degrees of our selves based on where we are and whom we are interacting with.
Without even trying, we express our multidimensionality. And, most of the time, it’s not a matter of putting up fronts, instead it’s a manner of being and thriving in the world. We can, indeed, be genuine versions of ourselves in various situations. After all, would it really work to be the “same” person all day long? Lots of situations, lots of hats.
The type of person we are in the backyard gardening may be quite distinctive from who we are in front of our friends at the movies or our children’s teachers at conferences. Our parents, our partners, and our neighbors see us from all different sides. Still, generally, we cannot really say that one side is more sincere than the next, can we?
Probably not. This type of shape shifting is far from being disingenuous, in fact, the strengths tell us that it is natural, even important to be able to scale our various qualities up or down. We live on a spectrum.
Imagine going on a first date and interacting with the person in the exact same ways that we interacted with, say, our doctor or therapist. Or, think if we spoke to our colleagues in all the same ways that we spoke with our infant nieces and nephews.
So much of life is communication and in order to be affective communicators we routinely rely on our past experience and intuition to determine the right approach. Living in our strengths does not mean living full bore in our strengths from sun up to sun down. Instead, it means finding the right application of our strengths in every situation. That, at times, might look like a candle, at others a spotlight. Either way, we seek to live in our strengths to the appropriate degree.
In that, we can live genuinely in our strengths at various volumes. If we are high in the activator theme, for example, we can tune that strength to bring satisfaction and meaning to our lives at home, work, and, even, on vacation. However, if we live our lives stuck on the “work” setting of that strength an imbalance is created. It begins to look less like a strength and more like a disorder.
After all, we learn over time—and probably still learn—how to bring out various sides of our selves depending on where we are and what we are trying to achieve. The strengths give us concrete dials to turn and consider.
Since we probably seek to develop radically different relationships with our local postal worker than we do with our new boss, we dawn many hats. We know this. The joy and possibly the true art of developing a strengths mindset is figuring out how to effectively tune our strengths to the proper volume. That is, to truly feel that we are our genuine and fullest self no matter the situation—with both the postperson and the boss. And everyone else.
A first step toward action is awareness. We begin by tuning into the notion that scaling our natural tendencies forward and backward is a process worth practicing. Not only does it create room for greater exploration of ourselves, it also creates opportunities for others to embrace us at our best.
That is, instead of trying to be like others, the strengths allow us to be ourselves at different volumes.
What does it mean to be multidimensional? Would the strengths still be strengths if they were always on full blast? How does understanding the nuances of our strengths provide insight into the big picture?
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.