I was coaching a client recently who was nervous about going to a networking event. This client is in a powerful position with a media company, and has lived and worked all around the world rubbing shoulders with very influential people. The reason she was nervous? She felt that she comes across as a “babbling idiot”.
Having known her a while, I knew this was far from the truth. In fact, she is an energetic, intelligent woman who inspires people. When I shared this with her, and that her passion for life attracts people to her who want a little bit of that zest she has, she had the courage to acknowledge that this was the truth! She went to the event keeping in mind the manner in which people really see her…and was amazed at how many leads she got.
Let’s face it. It’s so easy to identify and talk about our fears, insecurities and faults – after all, we have a long list. But how many of us can easily say what is great about us? What our strengths are, and focus on them instead of our weaknesses?
It takes guts to admit to oneself, let alone others, that we are good, lovable… and maybe even powerful. Our automatic programming tells us to “fix” the weaker parts of our being instead of celebrating our success and brilliance. Society has taught us that you don’t want to be an underachiever, but many of us don’t feel comfortable standing out above the crowd either. To do so would attract undue attention (who wants that!), or threaten others and then people won’t like us or love us.
If you don’t claim who you really are and want to become, you cannot live your best life. Identifying your strengths allows you to more easily tackle not only the daily struggles of life, but also your big dreams.
Think about your natural talents, special gifts or traits. By articulating and claiming who you are, you can bring more of your energy into nurturing your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses. Which kind of life would you prefer?
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?”
Actually, who are you not to be?…Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so other people won’t feel insecure around you…as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
– Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Speech
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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