I hate spreadsheets. I don’t know how to set one up and only use them for glorified graph paper. Frank adores them – his eyes shine when he gets to create a multi-page budget and anticipate needs in the future. It causes me vast amounts of stress and it is something where his creativity shines.
I have a friend who is an amazing crafter. Her self-care comes in the form of making beautiful things. Her house is beautifully decorated and her gallery wall of pictures is evenly spaced and Pinterest-worthy. My gallery wall is a bunch of frames I found at the ARC, hung haphazardly on the way down the stairs. My thought is that we would never have family photos on the wall if I waited for it to be perfect. My friend is gifted at creating beautiful spaces – ones in which people feel welcome, in which the small details are so perfect that no one even notices them.
I have another friend whose house is always messy but who is so generous in her time and space. She invites kids over, gives moms a break, and is always ready to lend a hand. Because her home isn’t perfect, it’s easy to say yes to her generosity because I know I’m not putting extra stress on her when we drop in.
One of the ideas of StrengthsFinder that I love is that we need to surround ourselves with people who compliment our strengths. Rather than working on my weaknesses and doing a bad job, I’m going to find people who love doing what I’m just not great at. Recognizing the strengths in others allows me to contribute my best rather than my mediocre.
It’s not that I’ll never have to do something I’m not good at or that I’ll never need to stretch myself beyond these top five strengths. It just means that, if it makes sense to ask someone else to help me, I should.
Isn’t that what community is all about? Being comfortable asking for help? If we were all good at everything or if we were so focused on trying to get better at things we aren’t good at, we wouldn’t have the time or energy to offer others our gifts. It’s hard to believe that my friends would want what I’m good at, but it’s true. When I take the time to cultivate my strengths, I’m in a place to offer my best to those around me.
It takes a certain level of vulnerability to be confident in our own strengths – to recognize that we are really good at certain things. It also takes a certain trust in asking for help. The older I get, the more I realize I need the help of others. Things turn out better when I let others help me. And, that’s how deep community is created.
When I allow my friends to care for me and to use their strengths to help, we all grow and benefit.
Do you ask others to help? How do you celebrate the strengths in your friends?
This post is Day 29 of the Write 31 Day Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the StrengthsFinder test. You can find the entire series over at Live Your Strengths page.