Random Comments and Thoughts 20220419

First, on a non-writing front:

Just because you want something to be one way doesn’t mean it will be. This is true of so much in life. You can’t make that person love you. You can’t force that other person to treat you a certain way. You can’t make yourself be other than who you are wired to be.

And, in this case, you can’t just wish a virus away. COVID is not over. It’s maybe in a dip right now in some parts of the world, but we are way too interconnected these days for that to be something you can rely upon when making decisions about a life-altering illness.

So many people seem to have missed that the mitigations we put in place were protecting them from far worse outcomes. They see that X didn’t happen and they assume that’s because people were wrong about the possibility of X instead of realizing that A, B, C, and D are what kept X from happening.

I expect we have some “fun” times ahead as people throw out A, B, C, and D.

Also remember that the government is always going to be behind the ball in telling you when to protect yourself and will also probably act too soon in telling you it’s all clear.

(I saw that with the fire we had here in December. I decided to evacuate at about 12:30 because things just didn’t seem right. The evacuation order didn’t come through until 1. And chances are things were on fire right near me at noon.)

Anyway. Be careful out there. As the child of someone who had a long-term life-altering illness that eventually killed them forty years later, I assure you that death is not the only bad outcome to worry about.

Also:

One of the things I loved about CliftonStrengths was that it highlighted where your “superpowers” are. Those attributes that make you unique and capable of amazing accomplishments.

Lean into your Strengths and you can do things you’d never imagined were possible.

But one of the reasons I drifted away from the official coaching group on Facebook and general discussions around Strengths in other forums was because people seem to have this relentless need to diagnose what is wrong with them and others.

So instead of saying “This part of this Strength is what makes me shine” or “This is what makes you powerful,” they say, “This part of this Strength is what limits me and needs to be fixed” or “You are flawed because of this.”

Today it happened to be a post about Maximizer and depression and perfectionism. But I’ve seen it so many times in so many settings.

(For me personally, Maximizer, which is in my top ten, manifests as “this is a waste of my time, next”. My Maximizer lets me know when to quit. It doesn’t insist that I do everything to the max. I suspect that the quote I saw shared wasn’t even using maximizing in a Strengths context, but when you go looking for flaws, you find them.)

Here’s the deal.

No one is perfect. And, yes, that thing you have that no one else has is what can feel alienating or frustrating or challenging.

It is not easy to have some Strengths high. I saw that with coaching. For example, writers who were high in Empathy and high in Significance both struggled with it. For very different reasons.

But when they leaned into those Strengths and accepted them as Strengths, they were empowered by them.

You want to be center stage and that fact drives you to improve and keep trying and produce more than most people can? Great. Lean into that and you will make it to center stage.

You honestly, truly feel others emotions as if they’re your own and that leads you to writing incredibly powerful character moments that have readers screaming for more? Awesome. Do it. Go there. Embrace that emotional depth. It will build you a loyal audience that keeps coming back for more.

You need to lean into what sets you apart, not try to tone it down or fix it to please others.

And, yes, there can be negative sides to every Strength. My #1 Strategic has made me less than accommodating at times. But the answer is not to suppress the Strength. Or to hate it.

If you hate one of your top three Strengths, that’s a problem that likely needs mental health counseling.

(And I don’t say that to be flippant. I say that because if you hate what makes you special and unique and capable of great things, that’s something that needs work. And it’s not something a Strengths coach is trained to deal with.)

So. My advice:

Accept that you have flaws, but still embrace what makes you capable of success, and don’t give that up just because it sets you apart in some way.

Author: M.L. Humphrey

M.L. Humphrey is a former securities regulator, registered stockbroker (although only briefly), and consultant on regulatory and risk-related matters for large financial institutions with expertise in the areas of anti-money laundering regulation, mutual funds, and credit rating agencies. Since 2013 M.L. has also been a published author under a variety of pen names and across a variety of subjects and genres. You can contact M.L. at mlhumphreywriter [at] gmail.com.

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