How many times have you been asked to identify or list your strengths? Almost everyone at some point in their life is faced with this question—whether it comes up in a job interview, a college essay, a team building exercise, or a productive conversation—the question gets around. We use this question as a recruiting tool or a coaching tool and we use it to identify one’s strengths. It is a tactic to uncover more about oneself; but once we have identified the strengths, what do we actually do with this revelation? Time after time we use this tactic as part of our routine and end up desensitizing ourselves to the true opportunity of uncovering our strengths and using them to our advantage.
Would you rather wake up each morning knowing you have the power and the control to choose how your day goes or would you rather let your pre-determined mindset choose for you? Recently, I was pondering why we have some days that are better than others. Take away the external factors of the day-to-day grind—like spilt coffee on your blouse or a compliment on your new haircut from a co-worker—these are considered external factors that can influence our mood. What I am referring to is called pre-determined mindsets. This is when an individual feels they have no control over their mindset, as if it has been set in motion without their approval.
Examples of pre-determined mindsets:
You wake up in a funk; anything or anyone that crosses your path is just going to get a whole lot of sass from you today. You know you are being difficult but you cannot stop yourself. Everything is viewed through a negative outlook.
You wake up feeling great, you are ready to take on the world and your ambitious drive is through the roof! You have the energy to do your chores and even get a work-out in. You feel vibrant and happy! You might even make some weekend plans ahead of time.
Our goal is to provide you with a different outlook on your mindset. Knowledge creates awareness which fuels power—Power over oneself. It’s not easy overcoming a pre-determined mindset! Negative mindsets are powerful and it is scientifically proven to be our first reaction. Before we dive further into the science behind negative and positive mindsets, I want to talk about the power of our strengths and how they define us.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves each day. We face insecurities, loneliness, and frustration in certain times. We give a lot of our attention to these feelings and we end up allowing them to define us at times. In order to use our strengths to our advantage, we must acknowledge that these feelings do not define who we are! A brilliant man named Martin Luther King Jr. once said—judge by the content of our character—how we communicate, how we treat others, the way we love, our contributions to the greater good, and our values are the definition of who we are!
The combination of our strengths with our experiences naturally guides our path in life. We lean toward what we are strong at and our experiences serve as a road map. This knowledge will help identify your strengths as you travel on.
There is brilliance in knowledge! Challenge yourself to explore your depths. Identify the impact your brain chemistry can have on your mindset. Do we acknowledge on the daily that our brain chemistry is a significant factor in our outcomes? The truth is the majority of us are so busy with our daily lives that we forget to provoke our thoughts to a higher level of understanding. This week take time to reflect on your actions and behaviors. I am certain you will ponder the thought: How does my brain chemistry play into my behaviors?
The Power of Knowledge:
Let’s dive deeper into the science behind our brain chemistry and how it impacts our mindset. I recently discovered through a friend the book, Science of Positivity, and instantly the dots connected—BRAIN CHEMISTRY.
This method explains how our mammal brains are designed to be in survival mode. We naturally think of all the negative outcomes in order for us to survive. Think about the power in knowing that! Take one of those days you are in a funk—now imagine instead of spending the whole day in a negative mindset, you stopped and gave yourself a pep talk: “I know this is only my brain chemistry at work and my survival tactics are on point today. I do however have the power of knowledge and the fact that I know this allows me to change my outcome for the day.”
I may have received an eye roll or two at this point. Yes, it seems corny but there is truth in redirecting your thoughts in a positive manner. We must spend time training our brain. There is no easy fix, it’s take dedication and vulnerability.
I dare you…
Say the following out loud with conviction: “I know this is only my brain chemistry at work and my survival tactics are on point today. I do however have the power of knowledge and the fact that I know this allows me to change my outcome for the day.”
Take a deep breath and exhale. (Tell yourself your are good enough!)
Identify one positive thing that is happening in your life right now
I hope this can help you feel a sense of relief and that you can relinquish any tension you may be harboring.
When you start to head down that tunnel of negativity take a moment to stop, think, and assess. Try countering every negative thought with a positive one. Building a repetition of this mantra will train your brain toward positive thinking!
A simple change such as this may give you the opportunity to control your mentality instead of just going along with the pre-determined mindset.
Combining both the acknowledgement of our brain chemistry and identifying our positive attributes gives us the power to create a new outlook on life. If we capitalize on our strengths we will learn to apply them in our lives to help support our success, visions, and missions. Think about the times you are most happy in your life—I can guarantee your strengths are at play.
The Trickle Effect: Identifying and using your strengths, will support positive thoughts and support your happiness.
Put it to use: When you are having a bad day commit to resisting the urge to stay in a negative mindset and challenge yourself to think in a positive manner.
If you are having trouble identifying your strengths—here are a few guidelines to start the process:
Ask friends and family to identify your individual strengths. (This will give you another perspective and spark your own thoughts.)
Write down five things you love to do and then analyze why you love to do them. (Is there a correlation between what you love to do and your strength set?)
Think about what makes you happy and why? (The foundation to what makes you happy will reflect your natural strengths.)
Identify one strength at the start of the week. Think about this strength of yours during each day. Why do you feel this strength benefits you? How does it impact others? Then at the end of the week assess your findings. (Repeat this each week with a new strength)