In her song ICU, Phoebe Bridgers sings “If you’re a work of art, I’m standing too close. I can see the brush strokes.” This quote refers to the unfortunate truth that once we are incredibly close to someone, it is so easy to see their faults.
This truth also applies to our perceptions of ourselves. We are often fantastic at seeing our own flaws and struggle to see our own strengths.
In episode 241 of More Than Corporate, Amber Fuhriman takes us through the way we can counteract the instinct to see only the worst in ourselves.
She presents us with a four-step exercise that you can use to take a step back and see yourself as the work of art you are, complete with strengths and weaknesses.
The four steps of the exercise are:
- Reflect on your mentors
- Ask your mentors about your strengths
- Trust their answers
- Reflect on their answers
If you can take these four steps, you will be able to learn more about your unique strengths and use those strengths to develop services, collaborate with others, and improve your self-confidence.
In this article, we will go into each of those steps in-depth, discussing the mindset required for each step and how those steps can help you.
Reflect On Your Mentors
Your first step in this process is to find the right mentors. All of us have mentors, those people we look up to at work or in our personal lives. However, not all mentors are suitable for this process.
The right mentors are the people who have seen you in the area of your life that you want to reflect on. For example, if you are an editor and you want to hone your craft, consider mentors who have seen you edit and give feedback.
The most important aspect of these mentors is: they must be people who you trust to tell the truth and who you will be able to believe when they tell you about your strengths.
Once you have thought of five people who fit this mold, you are ready for the next step.
Choosing The Right Mentors
“You need to choose the right mentors for this step. Most of us have many mentors who we look up to, but not all of them will be right for this process. You need to choose someone who you can trust and who has opinions that you trust.”
Ask Your Mentors About Your Strengths
Quite simply, your next step is to ask your five mentors “what are my greatest strengths.” This question can feel a bit awkward and embarrassing for some, but you should push through those feelings.
If you are feeling extra brave, you can ask your mentor about your weaknesses. When you decide whether you will ask about weaknesses, think about what you are prepared to hear.
If you are brave enough to ask about your weaknesses, then this exercise will be doubly powerful. Think about how often job interviewers have asked you about your weaknesses. Now you can feel more genuine in the weaknesses you tell them.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
“It can be very easy to talk to our mentors about our weaknesses. In our culture, we think of talking about weaknesses as normal and almost expected, while talking about our strengths comes across as arrogant. That being said, it is possible to talk about your strengths humbly.”
Trust Their Answers
For many people, this is the most difficult step. When we hear compliments, our instinct is to brush them away and try to redirect them. Fight that impulse and trust that your mentors are right.
Listen And Trust
“It can be difficult to listen uncritically as someone talks about you. Especially if you had the confidence to ask them about your weaknesses. Remember, they are not telling you why they do or don’t like you. They are talking about the unique qualities that make you who you are.”
Reflect On Their Answers
Once you have your answers from your mentors, it is time for you to implement your strengths. Take the list that you have made of the strengths that your mentors pointed out to you and go down the list asking one question:
“Am I using this strength fully?”
If the answer is no, this is a good moment for you to reflect on the ways that you can restructure your life to use that strength as much as possible.
Opening Doors With Your Strengths
“When you know that not everyone is good at the same things as you, suddenly many doors open up for you. This is because you can now use these strengths to open doors that you never knew existed. Doors that lead to collaborations and products.”
Once you have analyzed your strengths and found ways to use them more fully, it is time for you to think about how you can tell more people about your strengths and how you are using them.
Fear of failure can often prevent us from telling people about the projects that we are working on or the personal growth that we are undertaking. Fight that fear.
Ready To Design Your Life For Success?
If you are interested in connecting with Amber, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect with other incredible people looking to break out of the corporate mindset by joining the Success Center Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/morethancorporate/
Schedule a connection call with Amber: https://successdevelopmentsolutions.com/connectioncall/