About this time last year we won a Vespa. Imagine my excitement, I’d never won anything beyond a bottle of wine. Owning a Vespa was a 20 year dream. It was on my bucket list. It promised retro style and wind through the hair freedom. With eager anticipation I chose a helmet and gloves and walked to the collection point.
It sat waiting. The duco was shimmery green, the was chrome bright and shinny. I sat on the smooth leather seat and reached for the comfortable handle bar. Smile wide and eyes bright, I gazed at the rounded control panel.
I was ready.
Sort of …
You see, I’d never ridden a Vesper. The closest I’d come was riding pillion on a trail bike (when I was 11). Luckily, my husband was more experienced. He was patient. He explained how the gears and brake worked and then, stood back.
The engine purred. The bike started to move.
It moved quickly.
Toward a pole.
I forgot what I was supposed to do.
I jumped off and, terrified of breaking the new toy, held tight to the handle bar and sort of lurched and loped next to the bike.
Thankfully we were in an empty car park and as I jumped, my hand slipped back on the throttle. So, I really only ‘ran’ a couple of steps. Danny ran after me, grabbed the bike and said,
‘Nic, you never jump off’.
He had a point.
Thing I discovered that day, and in the ensuring bike riding lessons after, was that despite wanting a Vespa for years, riding one was simply not in my wheel house. I guess that’s why my brother – also an experienced rider, had gone to great lengths to talk me out of buying one 20 years ago.
The ending to this story is predictable. We sold the Vespa and used the money to buy push bikes – something the whole family could enjoy. I realised, creating my own power was more my style. Sure, I could have persisted. I could have faced my fears and struggled with the intricacy of moving traffic, speedometers, foot gears and hand breaks. Or, I could be honest with myself and choose another way. Something that fitted with ‘who’ I am and what I truely enjoy.
This is what recognising your Strengths is all about. It’s about focusing on what we’re good at rather than struggling to conform to a belief or dream that may not align to what we truely want, need or believe.
I wonder what would happen if we all focused on what was right with us rather than what was wrong. Chances are we’d feel liberated, we’d be less defensive and we’d be happier. When you focus on strengths rather than worrying about weaknesses you give yourself permission to be the best version of yourself.
Unfortunately, society has been lying to us. We can’t be anything we want. No amount of practice or training will turn my flat vocal cords into a soft melody but I can appreciate someone else’s song while developing my skills with the written word. Despite weeks in the carpark, no amount of riding a Vespa developed the coordination and courage I needed to ride on the road. However, I could admit my brother was right and swap motor for pedal.
You see, we each have our own talents and when we truely start recognising our abilities, rather than anxiously coveting what someone else has, we free ourself to live the life we were born to live.
What were you born to do?
This mightn’t be an easy question. It can be difficult to recognise exactly what we do well. Sometimes it’s hard to describe our talents because they seem so natural to us. What we do when we’re in flow seems easy. We forget what’s simple for us, may not be easy for everyone else. Often the things we are best at are the things we least see. So, we need someone else to hold a mirror.
- What gives you joy?
- When do you feel most comfortable?
- When was the last time you looked back at something you did and thought ‘wow’?
- When was the last time you looked back at realised what seemed like minutes was actually hours?
If these questions are not easy to answer and you’d like to know how to access your innate talents, visit the Clifton Strength Centre.
If you’d like some training that’ll help you flex your mental and emotional muscle, let me show you how.
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