I brace myself for ice breakers in meetings. The worst of them is “tell us your strengths”. What are you good at? My mind goes blank. I hear others come up with wonderful strengths but my brain freezes. The only thing that surfaces is reading. I read a lot. But I don’t read informative non fiction. I read books that appeal to me. Stories appeal to me so that is what I read.
After some thinking, I stammered, “I have been told I ask good questions and I listen.” Another friend in the meeting chimed in, “You ask outstanding question.” She comes to my book clubs so her compliment was wonderful. I was relieved when I could pass the mike to another participant in the meeting.
I was complaining to my daughter that I can not think of my strengths when asked and I hate ice breakers. She asked me what I said. And then advised, “Mom, don’t start the sentence by saying you have been told that you are good at something. Own your strengths. Tell them you are a good listener. End of sentence.”
I said she was right. Why am I so wishy washy when it comes to saying my strengths out loud? I blame my upbringing. I always blame my upbringing when something goes wrong. Don’t you? 🤣🤣
Don’t sing your own praise, let the world tell you you are good – this mantra was ingrained in me since I can remember. Be humble. I take humility seriously. Too seriously, as I find out these days.
I asked my son, “I stumble when I am asked about my strengths. I never know what to say.”
He kept it simple. “Tell them you are a great mother.”
“Thank you. But how does that relate to my work?”
“What are you talking about? Great mothers are great leaders.”
This blog is not about you all (those of you know me) telling me my strengths. Nor am I fishing for compliments. I actually quite like myself. My strengths are kindness, being available, empathy. I am indeed a good listener. People feel comfortable talking to me and I do ask good questions. See, I can write them all down. I can not articulate them when asked.