By Amanda Delamer, MSc, CPCC, ACC
In addition to teaching me how to dance the “floss” and “orange justice” (If you are curious, there are many entertaining videos online – and you are welcome for not including a video of myself doing these dance moves!), my kidlets are fabulous examples of what leadership looks like.
This weekend was a great example of my kids owning and focussing in on their strengths.
Kids are so much better than adults at not getting preoccupied with the “have to’s” and the “should’s”. They just totally trust what they feel, and let themselves be all-in with where they are and what they want in the moment. It is so refreshing! They may not be aware that choices they are making reflect their strengths – “this is what brings me a ton of joy” and “this is something I am really good at”, but they are honouring themselves just the same.
Kids are also so much better at not trying to be the “best” at everything. They just go with what they enjoy (which is likely also something they are naturally really good at). Think about when your child comes home with their report card, or when you have a performance review at work. How much time do you spend on celebrating those A’s and B’s, or an amazing accomplishment over the pas year? Probably not much time at all, compared to how much time is spent on asking our kids to bring that C up to an A, or the time we spend with our supervisors talking about how we need to get better at conflict management or presentation skills. What would happen if instead, we supported one another to focus our energy on our strengths?
I think about my son, who is in kindergarten and working through math problems at a grade 3 level, or how he wants to shoot pucks at the hockey net and draw Pokémon characters in detail for hours, and how he goes shopping with me to keep me company (strengths: achieving, discoverer, caring). Or my oldest daughter who loves to create treasure hunts and set up obstacle courses for the family, how she loves doing things together, and how she loves to create and perform stories and plays (strengths: includer, presence, relator, expression). And how our youngest takes charge of the other two like nobody’s business, is constantly singing or humming, and wants to play with playdough all day long (strengths: confidence, woo, creative). They don’t overthink it. They just trust themselves. They play to their strengths.
What happens to us as we age? Why do we lose that instinct to put our focus on doing things we love to do, the things we are really good at. What is this need to be good at everything?
My husband and I chat daily about how one of our important roles as the parents of these amazing little people is to not get in their way or hold them back from expressing who they are. Sometimes, it may mean taking some deep breaths, but it is so worth the reward of watching them shine!
We also need to have that chat with ourselves quite often! We want to lead by example. It is our responsibility to create space for us to honour our strengths too.
So what happens when you let yourself be “all-in” with your strengths – those things you not only love doing, but that you’re also really good at? What’s that energy like? What if you got out of your own way, and let yourself do more of what you’re naturally good at and enjoy? What becomes possible when you focus on your strengths?
Let’s explore together!
Amanda Delamer is a self-awareness and fulfillment coach. Amanda coaches and supports people in living healthy, balanced and joyful lives. She coaches and honours the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Her clients experience fulfillment in all parts of their lives – health, family, relationships, career, and beyond – and they value and appreciate that all parts of their lives are connected, and we all have responsibility in and for the world around us. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three children.