Your strengths are more than just the “things that you are good at” as many of us have been taught to believe. Your strengths energize you and bring you joy. Your strengths are the ways you act, think, and feel that come most naturally to you. Because our strengths are the best that any of us have to offer, bringing out the strengths in ourselves and others should matter to any of us who are trying to make a positive change in our own lives or in our communities. So why are so few of us focusing on strengths and what can be done to change that?
I think the answer lies in more of us becoming Community Strengths Champions™. Community Strengths Champions™ are volunteers whose main job is to make sure that the people in their community are helped to understand their strengths and to find meaningful ways to contribute them. Community Strengths Champions™ (CSC) don’t have to be professionals or experts. They only have to be passionate about using their own strengths to encourage the strengths of the people within their community. Here are 5 good reasons why you want (and need!) to be a CSC:
1. Our strengths are how we shine…and how we light the way for others. Our strengths are what we are sharing when we are using our best talents, making a positive contribution, and loving it. Using our strengths is an essential, necessary component of experiencing personal well-being. If you want people to experience well-being then you should help them to discover and use their strengths.
2. Each one of us has strengths, but far too few of us know what our strengths are. We all need help identifying and describing our strengths. We also need to be reminded over and over again that it’s okay that we have different strengths than our siblings, classmates, neighbors, coworkers or friends. Diversity in strengths is a good thing. Some of us were born to fly, some of us were born to swim, and some of us were born to run.
3. Your strengths need a champion. – We all need someone who sees and encourages the unique strengths and the talents inside of us. We can’t always see our strengths or remember what they are. Way too many of us struggle because we have never received the right kind of support and encouragement to help us keep moving forward with our strengths. We all need to belong to a team or community that values and nurtures our strengths.
4. Our challenges will only be solved by using our strengths. The big challenges we face in our lives, our communities, and in our world can only be solved by the kind of passion, commitment, energy, resourcefulness, creativity, and excellence that human beings demonstrate when we are using our strengths on behalf of something that matters to us. Sharing our strengths is the only way that people have ever changed the world in the past and the only way that we’ll ever make it better in the future.
5. Someone out there will only hear about their strengths if it comes from you. If you understand how important strengths are, then you are now called to share this message with your family and friends, in your community, school, or workplace – wherever your circle of influence happens to be. Understanding our strengths is one of the most important things any of us can ever learn, but many people in your world will never get the message about their strengths unless it comes from you. We all have the ability to show someone their strengths.
6. Unless it’s someone’s job, it will never get done. You caught me! I said I would give you 5 reasons and this is reason #6! But when we use our strengths we are energized and inspired to do more than the minimum. This is another key reason why focusing on people’s strengths is so darn important. Now back to the ultimate reason for this 6th point. We can talk all day long about how much strengths matter and we can truly believe it. But unless recognizing and nurturing strengths is someone’s assigned responsibility on a team or within a community, it will receive lots of lip service, but it will never get done in a consistent and effective way. Sure, most of us believe that it would be nice for everyone to be helped to “play to their strengths,” but who is really going to make sure that it has a chance to happen in the midst of all the competing tasks, demands, crises, and deadlines of everyday life?
We need people in our communities, schools, and organizations whose main mission and role is to help bring out the best effort and talent from each person by helping them see and share their strengths. Ultimately, you become a Community Strengths Champion™ not because you are greater than anyone else, but because you know that we all have greatness within us…greatness that needs and deserves to be nurtured.
Consider these points, therefore, to be your call to action to be one of the Community Strengths Champions™ that is so desperately needed in every family, school, neighborhood, and organization in our world. Everyone can believe in strengths, but in the end, someone has to help bring them out into the world.
Are you ready to be that someone?