Your Village People

If the title of this post had you thinking we would be discussing singing, dancing, and interesting takes on construction worker attire, you'd be mistaken. Not to worry, though. You still made a wise choice. Keep reading.

“It takes a village.” This is one of my most favorite phrases. If you have raised, are currently raising, or are consistently around children, you know that it truly does take the effort of not only the parents or guardians, but of extended family and friends to successfully rear those kiddos in our society today. To help assure our children achieve the best success, we call on friends and family to help cheer on our kids at their basketball games, to buy their Girl Scout cookies, to pick them up from daycare when we…forget.  We build a village of cheerleaders for our little ones.   But are children the only ones in need of a village? When it comes to your success, your ability to flourish and feel encouraged to use your natural strengths, who supports you?

Who’s in YOUR village?

When I’m working with clients who have a hard time claiming or seeing their own strengths, I always suggest that they share their StrengthsFinder results with those closest to them – their village.  Without fail, those friends and family members always laugh after reading the results, saying “That’s SO you,” or “How do you not see this in you?!” They know you so well that it’s easy for them to identify your strengths, because it’s what they value in you most.  And undoubtedly, you consider them to be your village BECAUSE they value those strengths and encourage you to use them. Think about that for a minute. Why is your village…your village?

Those in your village – let’s call them your village people (Ha!) – have most likely secured their residency by fulfilling three key initiatives to help you grow and develop as an individual.

Strong Village People…

Acknowledge your strengths. When your strengths are engaged, they see it.  If you are particularly gifted in arranging pieces to a puzzle, let’s say, they will be the first ones to say “You are so great at organizing! You did that so easily and it’s perfect!” Strong village people notice what makes you different, what makes you unique.

Place you in positions to use your strengths. If you are naturally gifted in action, they might give you opportunities to begin new projects because they know you’ll enjoy the task and will be more successful than others at jump-starting a stagnant idea.  They want you to develop your strengths into a powerhouse utility belt, and they want to help you as best they can.

Call you out on over-caffeinated strengths.  Have you ever been over-caffeinated? You’re a bit jittery, you have trouble concentrating, and you might even make impulsive, harebrained decisions. Your strengths can become over-caffeinated as well. For example, maybe you’re an incredibly inclusive person. Your village loves that strength of yours – everyone always feels welcomed and included when you’re around. But have any of your friends ever said, “I know you really want everyone to feel invited, but the guest list is up to 40 now, and you need to reign it in.” That’s an example of an over-caffeinated strength. When we allow them to become unfocused and impulsive, they lose their productivity and skill. Your village people recognize that and care enough to call you out on it when those moments pop up.

If some time has passed since you acknowledged your village, I challenge you to do so in the near future. Identify who in your circle fits the criteria above, and let them know that you value their dedication to making you great.  Chances are, they will reciprocate the same sentiment towards you.