Playing To Your Strengths

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I learned all kinds of fun things this weekend—about ancient skills and about myself. The Silver River Museum  hosted its first Knap-In and Stone Age Arts Festival and as part of the staff, I got to help.

By the way, we didn’t bring blankets and snooze on the museum lawn. Flint knapping is the ancient art of making arrowheads and spear points. I had a chance to browse the vendors’ booths and learn from the demonstrators and reenactors.

Mysteri Barnhill demonstrates rag rug crocheting

 I even got a peek inside a teepee…

Demonstrators Charles Palle and Robert Wilson

Along with the other visitors, I learned tons about flint knapping, hide tanning, pottery making and beading. I opted out on the Atlatl (old-fashioned spear) and tomahawk throwing, though many discovered it wasn’t quite as easy as it looked.

Flint Knappers at work

But as “clipboard queen,” I spent most of the weekend checking in participants and welcoming folks, the equivalent of a superstore greeter in khaki. Despite my utter exhaustion Sunday night, I was totally energized.

In the midst of all the activity, I stopped, looked around and thought, “I love this.” I love welcoming people and getting them connected and settled in and comfy.

It was a revelation. From childhood, I’ve been taught to focus on improving my weaknesses. Since boasting, pride and self-importance are sins to be avoided, I’ve never given the idea of personal strengths more than a passing glance.

But that’s been changing lately, in a good way. I highly recommend a book by Marcus Buckingham called, Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently.

It has radically changed my outlook. I’m still acutely aware of my shortcomings, but I’m consciously trying to discover, build on and use my unique strengths. It’s a shift in thinking that is hugely freeing.

Haven’t you spent years lamenting all the things you’re NOT good at?

Maybe it’s time for a change. Let’s focus more energy and time on our strengths–the things we love and enjoy. (The weaknesses are still there; we’re just shifting our attention. We’ll talk about that next week.)

So take a minute to look around. What activities give you energy? Which ones make you smile? Make you eager to do them again?

Write them down. And if you want, share them here. I’d love to hear what gets you fired up and brings a huge smile to your face.



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    The Conversation

  1. Jamie says:

    I loved the description of your weekend. Sounds like a lot of fun – and I can imagine that you are excellent at hospitality and care taking. I had a similar revelation about half way through my career. I knew that I loved teaching, but I was working in a writing/marketing job. The difficult thing for creatives is that when you get promoted, you get promoted into management and you leave the creative stuff behind. So I was managing a staff of people, attending tons of meetings, meeting chaotic deadlines (multiple) and hating every minute of it. I was stressed and exhausted. A man came in to do a green light test on us – and I found out that I needed to quit and change my career. Today I’m teaching with a little bit of administration with plenty of room for creativity… Ahhhh…much better. I’m going to check out the book you recommend. It sounds great! Thanks for the post!

    • Connie Mann says:

      Great perspective, Jamie! I hadn’t thought of it that way, but we do sometimes get further and further away from what we’re really wired to do–without even realizing it.
      So I gotta ask: what’s a “green light test” exactly?
      I’ll be eager to hear what you think of the book!

  2. Arial Burnz says:

    Hello, Connie!

    Writing fires me up! I LOVE to tell my stories. If I have low energy, just ask me about one of my stories and poppin’ and animated!! I have a slew of stories I’m pumpin’ to get published.

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I will add it to my TBR pile!

    GREAT post! Sounds like you had a LOT of fun!

    That’s my two pence…

    Arial Burnz 😉

    • Connie Mann says:

      Thanks, Arial! I can feel your energy all the way over here. 🙂 I’m so glad you found what you love and are DOING it! Too many people just talk about it.
      Let me know what you think of Marcus Buckingham’s book!

  3. This is such an attractive site, Connie. I think what you’ve discovered is so true for those of us brought up to be modest.

    Cherie Le Clare
    Author of FRENCH KISS
    and KIWI KISS.

    • Connie Mann says:

      Thanks so much, Cherie! I wanted to make the site warm and welcoming–hope I’ve succeeded and you’ll stop by again!
      I agree, finding out what we’re good at, and having the guts to say so and build on it, is something very new for me. But I’m having a ball!