Look for What is Right
Sometimes the very nature of our work in the helping professions has us focused on problems and what needs fixing. Many people will come to you looking for help with what isn’t working in their lives. Problems. Trouble. Trauma. Challenges.
Strengths and Capacities
Even though we may subscribe to the ideas of strengths based practice helping others to identify their capacities and capabilities as a starting point for growth, as human beings, it can be challenging to see past the difficulties.
Searching for what is already working can seem like a fruitless endeavor. We are often mired in media stories that glorify all that is wrong in our world; stories that engender fear and worry. This constant exposure can leave us feeling like there’s nothing we can do.
What We Focus on Grows
The more attention we give to our problems and our shortcomings, the greater obstacles they become. If we are doing this to ourselves, we can be sure we are sending this vibe out to others as well.
Our academic institutions and societal structures tend to give us the message that there is a right way and a wrong way – and that somebody somewhere is going to point this out for us.
How many of you can recall a time when you may have excelled in a test or assignment at school, but missed an answer or lost marks for some element of your paper? Maybe, you got 99%, but instead of focusing on this amazing achievement, your mind ran in circles trying to figure out where you went wrong!
Performance appraisals, academic reports, quality assurance processes – all of these practices provide information related to strengths and to growth. But which elements get most of the attention? Okay, so we’re rocking it in this area – great! Let’s move on and dissect the parts that we suck at! Let’s make a plan to improve these – let’s focus on all the steps we need to take to rectify the situation – let’s form a committee and meet weekly for countless hours to come up with a plan and document it meticulously.
What would happen if we spent even a fraction of that time in celebration of all that is working – all that is “right” – all of the natural talents and resources we possess? What if this became the building block for further growth and expansion?
Taking it to the Next Level
Learning to focus and sincerely appreciate the strengths that we have helps us to identify how these strengths can be used to create even more growth and progress. The question changes. We go from “what can we do to fix it?” to “how can we use what we have to grow?”
Taking this approach with individuals who come to us for service creates an energetic atmosphere of unconditional positive regard, hope, curiosity, and creative thinking. And self-efficacy.
Implementing this strategy within organizations leads us to out-of-the-box thinking, cutting-edge practices, high level quality of service, and overall job satisfaction. We go from meeting our mandates to exceeding our wildest expectations. And we are fulfilled.
Applying this kind of thinking to our personal and professional development allows us to become more deeply connected to ourselves and ultimately to others, instills a profound sense of self-respect and self-love, and enriches our experiences in all aspects of our lives. And we are engaged.
Let Go of the Need to be Right
Human interaction and evolution is not about right and wrong. It simply is. It is a process. There are times we will feel good about what is happening and times when we won’t. We may say “hey, this works, I’ll keep doing it” or “That felt crappy, I’ll try something different.” It isn’t right or wrong, good or bad. It just is.
If we already had all the answers, we wouldn’t need to be here in this classroom of life. Find joy in the learning journey even when it feels crappy. Ask to be shown all that you need to know for the next steps you need to take. Trust the process.
Acceptance always leads to a change. In circumstances. In perspective. In experience. Eventually.
Let’s get started!
Is there one area in your life where you could let go of the need to be right?
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