Yesterday was one of my best work days ever. It was full of moments of smiles, hand-over-heart sighs, hugs, joy. I was helping a new chapter learn strengths language, asking them to view themselves and each other through a strengths lens and listen for ways to honor authenticity. As we discussed ways to change conversations and encourage hope, I felt them doing just that for me.
Watching students discover their strengths is one of the most powerful parts of my job. Regardless of their age, they have ownership of their good. Even for just a few minutes before the universe starts reminding them of the not-so-good, they are basking in the sunshine of awesome. I see it radiate in their faces and when I ask them for their thoughts - they use their own language to remind me how simple it is. They are engaged. They are excited about their own talents and curious about others.
An 8th grader yesterday so eloquently told me about his DISCOVERER strength. When I asked him where he felt he got to use that strength best, he explained to me how he loved to take things apart. Clocks, motors, computers, anything. He loves taking them apart and then putting them back together. I appreciated his openness in sharing with the middle school group - they can be a tough crowd. But then we were discussing the strengths question: What challenging goal is on your mind? and this student did exactly what I could spend days trying to teach adults: he applied his strengths. He explained he does the same thing with a problem or a goal: he takes it apart and then figures out how he is going to put it together. His mentor can help him do that. "It's pretty easy," he said.
And it really is that simple: when we know and apply our unique strengths, we are much more likely to honor the strengths of others. The ripple effect of that is incredible, and it is privilege as adults in young people's lives to give them reasons to celebrate their unique awesome.
What would happen if we all did a little more of that? A little more awareness of our own strengths, a little more appreciation of the good in others? I think it would make our days move a little easier.
Go discover you today.