Monday, October 26, 2009

Playing From Your Strengths

Do you view your life through your strengths or through your problems?

It has been about a year since all of the market upset, the onset of the recession and this period of doubt, uncertainty and feelings of helplessness. 

In the weeks surrounding the market crash, I received more than few calls from clients who basically said, “I don’t feel like I’m in control. I don’t know what to do. I’ve lost a lot of money. Things are not good.”

Things were not good for a lot of people. And though I’m a tax planner and not a financial advisor, I wanted to help. I wanted to give advice to my clients as to how to make that money back. I wanted to give sage advice that extended beyond: “Hang on…don’t do anything. The market went down, it will come back up.”

The market has come back a very long way but …

I realized that giving advice was not what I should be doing.

Collectively, we have all lost a lot of money, jobs, prospects and maybe perspective. Collectively, things might not look so good. But instead of focusing on all that money lost, all those opportunities down the drain, let’s take a minute to redefine who we are and what our goals are.

We know that we will live to fight another day. The market is back, for how long we don’t know.  So instead of focusing on all that might have been lost, let’s talk about who we want to be in the meantime. Instead of looking at the gap between what we had two, three years ago and what we have today, let’s simply look at what we have today.

By focusing on our current capacities, we can stop our lives of reacting. Instead, we must begin applying our strengths to address problems and obstacles with confidence.

In Say Hello to the Elephants I talk about the importance of wielding strengths.

Let me steal the following from my own book:
Strengths constitute your confidence. Your strengths will give you the confidence to discover hidden problems instead of evading them. Your strengths represent the confidence that gives you the ability to take advantage of opportunities and protect yourself from dangers. Your strengths stop you from standing in front of danger like a deer in headlights. By giving you confidence, your strengths develop, implement, and sustain your solutions. Your strengths will help you plan for various futures, be flexible about the paths you choose, and recognize opportunities others cannot.

Today’s Challenge:
Answer the following question—What are my strengths? What attributes, resources, and skills do I have? In what activities do I feel most confident?

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