Strengths and Other Ways


November 25, 2015

Sometimes it’s not merely what is being said that matters, it’s who is saying it.

For instance, Erik Weihenmayer says, “People get trapped into thinking about just one way of doing things.”

Now, if we don’t know who Mr. Weihenmayer is, and we assume that he’s just some guy, this quote might come across as somewhat trite and dismissible.  Right?

However, once we learn that he is one of only 150 adventurers in history to summit all seven peaks, our tune might change.  We might think, “Hmm…I wonder what he means by that?”

Then, add to the equation that Erik Weihenmayer is also blind, and it’s beginning to look like a quote worthy of our consideration and contemplation.  (That’s right, he climbed Mount Everest blind.)

So, when he says, “People get trapped into thinking about just one way of doing things” we understand that he is speaking from a place of profound depth; having walked his talk, we intuitively understand that he has a teaching to share.

We live in a time of specializations, advanced degrees, and workaholism—so, it’s easy to think that we cannot contribute value to a conversation unless we’ve somehow studied it.  But, our lived experience counts.  What we have accomplished and survived can serve as validation enough for our own deep wisdom.

Some people spend their whole lives waiting for the right expert to come along and tell them how to live.  When the whole time they are ignoring those people, places, and things closest to them who likely know better than any one else on earth.

Add to that, oftentimes, we forget to listen to the most important expert of all: ourselves.

And, don’t we sometimes learn most by diving in and fine-tuning along the way—stumbling and flailing and learning as we go?

Imagine if Eric Weihenmayer had waited for an “expert” on blind mountain climbing to tell him how to summit the seven peaks.  He wanted to do something that had never been done.  Therefore, because there was no expert, he had to become one.  He learned by doing.

We can each be the experts of our own lives when we strip away fear; we do this by committing to learning as we go and focusing on our strengths.  That way, we don’t have to pretend like we have it all figured out.

The Strengths tell us that we each have the ability to add our thoughts, ideas, and actions to any situation in ways that are significant and productive.  Because we all come from unique backgrounds, no two people are identical and we can always bring our perspective to the table.  We are living breathing snowflakes.

It’s easy to think that there is just one way to do things but the Strengths tell us that there are always 34 ways to do them.  Day by day they guide our inner-voices toward our outer-expertise—the value that we add to the world.

Three Questions

What are three things that I want to do that I have never before done?

Why have I not done them?  That is, what are the logistical/real-world obstacles and what are the inner-world/mental and emotional obstacles standing in my way?

Am I using any of the above as excuses to not even start?  If I am, when will I start?  What needs to change before I can take action?


It’s easier than you might think to let 100 days go by without taking any action toward your goals.  This is an exercise to change that:

Take out a piece of paper and draw four rows of circles—each row having 25 circles in it for a total of 100 circles.

Below the rows write three goals that you would like to accomplish in the near future.

Post this paper on the fridge and look at it often.

Let one circle represent one day.  Each day that passes, put an X through one circle.

This gives you a visual representation of 100 days and 3 goals.

Watch what happens to your motivation as you begin to cross off the days.

Try it to find out.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

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