Play to Your Strengths

In Fred Epstein’s book, If I Get to Five, he states:

To the degree that we can continue to access those childhood strengths as adults, we’ll be more resilient, more successful and more fulfilled.

A good statement, I thought, so I began to ponder its meaning to me – and to those I know well. Rather than look at my deficits, I should examine myself to see what strengths I possessed back when I was four or five – what traits of character I had then that I still have and can use to benefit others and myself.

I was adventurous, curious, a “want to know” kind of girl.  And you know what?  I still am!  I want to know what makes me tick, and I want to know about others too.  I am interested in the lives of others, and want to know how I can benefit them so that they feel successful and filled with joy.

But . . . one can take that strength to an extreme, and then it becomes harmful. There is something about my personality type – that “forever a nurse” in me – that wants to fix people who are hurting. But I have come to realize that not everyone wants to be helped or fixed.  I sometimes still am learning that lesson, usually the hard way.

The truth is however, found in Epstein’s statement.  Being interested in people has been my joy and then my career since I was that little four year old who was friendly with everyone in my neighborhood.  Even “Cop Kelly” who walked by our house every morning in his uniform on his way to his daily “beat,” was my friend.

You know, I also remember that my parents were concerned about my interest in people and my friendliness, and wanted me to curb it.  It’s been the case all through my life that someone has wanted me to stop being who God made me to be.  Yet I know that when I am true to my “calling”, my strength, I feel most successful, most fulfilled.

How about you?  Can you identify a strength that you had in childhood that has carried throughout your life?  What is it? We at Life Renewal would love to hear from you!  Write in to LRI Connect!

See, I’m being concerned about people, again.  Oh well!

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