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Archive for January, 2013

In Search of Excellence

Would you like to uncover those traits that allow you to perform at your highest level?
Would you like to know the skills and talents that make you unique?
Do you sometimes wonder what the fuss is about when people compliment you?

If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then you should find this article of interest.

Those of you who are regular readers might notice I seldom use the word “successful.”
That’s because I don’t use words I don’t understand.
The word simply has too many different meanings to too many people.

Though I don’t fully understand what the word “successful” means, I do know what the word “effective” means. Effective is doing what you want to do with your life the way you want to do it.

To make your life really work, you need to be able to function at a high level of effectiveness. You need to be able to access those gifts and talents that allow you to have the kind of life you really want.

To keep my personal life moving in the direction I want it to go, for example, I use my ability to effectively organize my time. I also use this skill to help create the balance I want in my life.

In the work part of my life, I use my gifts of discernment and tactful but frank communication to be of service to my clients.

What about you? What are your greatest and most powerful skills, gifts, and talents?

If you’re having trouble answering the question, here are two possible explanations:

Blind to our own excellence

One of the reasons people find it hard to focus on their highest and best qualities is that they often truly don’t realize what those talents are. The reason for this is quite simple. None of us knows what its like to not be “us.” If you have always been athletic or good at math or musically inclined, it’s very hard to fully appreciate those talents. Because we truly don’t understand what the fuss is about, we often miss the talents that truly define us.

By contrast if you have athletic ability but can’t carry a tune in a bucket, it’s easy to admire and appreciate someone who has a beautiful voice. Seeing excellence in others is much easier than seeing excellence in us.

Don’t brag

Another reason we have trouble identifying our areas of excellence is we are culturized to be somewhat self-effacing. When we are very young, our every move is scrutinized and our smallest accomplishments applauded. When we learn to talk, we are “amazing.” Our first steps are “incredible.” Our first drawings are attached to the refrigerator door, left till the paper dry rots, and we are declared the second coming of Picasso.

Somewhere around the beginning of grade school the message suddenly changes. After years of being told we were terrific, we are suddenly thrown a curve. The new message: “Don’t brag. Don’t talk about yourself. You’ll make other people feel bad and people won’t like you.”

Yikes!

In response to this new directive, we might very well stop talking to other people about the parts of ourselves that make us proud. Once we get to that point, we are just one step away from not being able to recognize our own strengths.

By the time we get to be adults, it’s been so long since we were consciously aware of our strong points that we find it hard to express that information. We have lost the vocabulary that allows us to articulate those parts of ourselves we love, enjoy and most want to use.

Some Questions

Asking the following questions can help you become reacquainted with those “lost” skills, talents, abilities and gifts.

In what areas of your life do people frequently compliment you? (Note: If two people independently compliment you or point out a particular strong point, you probably should pay attention.)

When you think about past successes—going back as far as you like—what memories make you smile inside? There’s a reason for your good feelings.

When you think about gifts and abilities, do you find yourself comparing your accomplishments to others? Does doing so cause you to feel less proud of what you have achieved and consider the achievement to be less valuable? (Note: If you do compare, stop. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who does it better than you and someone who doesn’t do it as well. The point is to feel good about what you have accomplished.)

Taking an inventory of your best skills and abilities, learning to appreciate your uniqueness, and finding ways to put those talents to work is one of the best gifts you can ever give yourself.

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CTS Consulting, Inc

3126 Berkshire Road

Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

cell 443-286-2488