Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Woo: The Social Superpower


There are no strangers in here, just friends you haven't yet met.  -Roald Dahl

Clifton StrengthsFinder Theme

Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don't. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection. Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet -- lots of them.
When my eyes gazed upon my super-fun Gallup strengths survey results for the very first time, the word “woo” seemed to be in larger font that the other four, jumping off the page at me.  It sounded immediately like a phrase someone would use to describe me, even though I hadn’t yet read the definition of this strength.  It just sounds like a cheerleader, like jazz hands, like a big party!  WOO!

I refer to woo as my social super power. Gallup was kind enough to write a bit about that here and the fun ways we brings strengths to the table during our mentoring journey.  I'm actually writing this piece for our TeamMates Strengths blog this week.

Our work is in creating ripples.  We want as many people as possible to discover their strengths, to apply their strengths for success, and to honor others by spotting their strengths in action.  We do this quite naturally within the trust-building of the mentoring relationship, but we do this with even more intention through the strengths technology and language.

As I began to learn more about my own strengths, I realized I needed to first change the way that I saw myself - not being focused on what was wrong, but what was right about me.  I needed to own my "talents".  And I knew it wouldn't be easy.  Especially with that Woo.  You see, I saw it as a problem:
  • I spent quality time in the principal's office growing up due to this social energy
  • I was in the "magical desk"  - you know, the one the teacher was always moving?
  • My husband was frustrated while wedding planning, I was struggling to limit the guest list to under 500
  • I was once banned from girl scout cookie sales by my daughter who said I was spending too much time talking to people and not actually selling the cookies
  • I had been labeled "miss popular" in negative ways many times in my life
  • I have been known to go to the grocery store with a mental short list of items and come home with absolutely nothing because I ran into someone, got busy talking, and forgot why I went in the first place

For me, my social self was an issue.  I didn’t see it as a talent, let alone a strength, until I spent the time learning more about Woo, understanding it’s value, and identifying when it helped me reach moments of success.  It's me at my very best.  That's how important strengths discovery and application truly is - it can change the way you see yourself (step one) and then help you change the way you see others (step two).  I like to think seeing people for what is good and right about them might just change the world (step three to infinity...and beyond!)
Being in my early 40s, the value of constant learning and growth has become more evident.  We all are a work in progress, whether we're a 4th grader or 40 something.  When we invest in ourselves to discover our strengths, really dial down into those talents, and utilize them as a tool for our best days and most successful self, the positive energy just naturally radiates to those around you.  When that happens, people naturally are more engaged and more hopeful.  Those ripples aren't just you at your best - they are connectors and hope builders.  And the more that we connect people to hope, the better this world may be.

Jazz hands all around!


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