Once upon a time, the animals came together and founded a school with six subjects: swimming, crawling, running, jumping, climbing, and flying. At first the duck was the best swimmer, but she wore out the webs of her feet in running class, and then couldn’t swim as well. The dog was the best runner, but he crashed in flying class and injured his leg. The rabbit started out as the best jumper, but he fell in climbing class and hurt his back. At the end of the school year, the class valedictorian was the eel, who could do a little bit of everything, but nothing very well. (Andrea Sigetich and Carol Leavitt, MBA. Play to Your Strengths. New Jersey. The Career Press, 2008).
It is a deep rooted belief in our society that being well-rounded is the greatest path to success. But, what is forgotten in that philosophy is that, as complex human beings, we all have weaknesses. In my recent post, THE TRUTH ~ Myth #2: I MUST FIX MY WEAKNESSES; I came head-to-head with this universal truth.
I will not argue that at a young age, we need to be exposed to a variety of things. Sports, education, religion, music, art, boy/girl scouts, family traditions…the list goes on. But, the expectation that we should or will excel at everything is unrealistic. Rather, exposure to a variety of activities and experiences growing up tells us one thing – what are our strengths and what our weaknesses are!
As time goes on, we mature and develop our talents. We understand what we are good at and what we are not good at. We should feel no remorse or regret over our limitations. Yet, societal pressure calls upon us to focus our time and energy on fixing our weaknesses so that we become well-rounded.
The definition of well-rounded is, “someone who is skilled, capable or knowledgeable in a lot of different things”, that I can live with! But, when growing up, at least from my own experience, that was not the intent when people spoke about being well-rounded. The intent or message was, “in order to be successful, you must perfect yourself in all areas of life.”
Perfectionism! And, oh boy, did I try. I was in sports, went to girl scouts, attended catechism, studied hard in high school, worked at an early age at my parent’s business, went on to college, furthered my education with Graduate school, kept a clean house and learned to cook, read books, took personality/character assessments to learn about myself, read self-help books, kept to-do lists, created goals, …. All with one goal in mind – to be perfect!
I suck at math, have no sense of direction, can’t read a map, am a horrible singer, don’t play a musical instrument, not artistically (painting/drawing) talented, and get bored with routine, methodical tasks. I drove my family nuts trying to overcompensate for my weaknesses and be perfect! As a young adult, I was labeled by those who knew me as a “perfectionist.” But, this belief that I had to be well-rounded, meaning excellent at everything, wasn’t what I learned from those closest to me growing up…it was from a much larger influence. It was based on what I read in magazines and books, watched on TV, learned from educators, and “what I heard to be true.”
Not only did I drive everyone around me crazy, but I drove myself nuts too! In actuality, it took me having my child to stop the “spin cycle.” I was exhausted trying to be “all that,” a wife, mom, daughter, sister, successful career professional…and “do it all to perfection.” Something had to give! I finally realized that I could not be perfect!
Success is not about being well-rounded or perfect; it is about clearly identifying our strengths and leveraging them to be the best of who we were born to be! It is acceptance of both our strengths and weaknesses.
One year and 7 months ago, I took StrengthsFinder and engaged in coaching to learn how to align my strengths to my personal and professional life. It was, by far, the best investment of my life. The insight and clarity, confidence and calm that filled my soul transformed my life. I felt as if the “weight of the world” was lifted off my shoulders. For the first time, I accepted ME!
Identifying, accepting, and intentionally using our strengths every day, and managing around our weaknesses, are the absolute keys to our success! The emotional and physical benefits are joy, happiness, fulfillment, success and HOPE!
H – Happiness
O – Opportunity
P – Purpose
E – Excellence
Are you ready to find fulfillment? Are you ready to create a roadmap to play to your strengths?
“When you play to your strengths, you may not be well-rounded, but you will be extraordinarily successful!” – Excerpt from the book, Play to Your Strengths
And might I add, happy, confident, and filled with a sense of PURPOSE! My friends, it is time to get on the bus. If you are ready to join the Strengths Revolution, I am here to coach, train, and guide you every step of the way!
“Forget about being well-rounded; just learn to be the BEST of whom you were born to be!”
– Beckie Jorgensen, Certified Strengths Coach