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letter-aWe learned early on that excelling was expected. Getting A’s in all subjects meant you were a good student. If you were only average, the next step down was failure. Striving with great motivation meant you would succeed and “be somebody”.

One of the exercises I usually ask my coaching clients to do is the Strengths Finder assessment. The top 5 strengths that are revealed are usually not a big surprise — but they turn out not to be the same strengths that were celebrated by parents and teachers.

Rather, they are strengths like Activator, Achiever, Communicator, Learner, Includer and Relater. They are natural talents that most often are overlooked, exactly because they are natural for us. But when you acknowledge their presence and intensity, they become a powerful influence. These strengths are what separate you and make you unique.

We’ve also been taught not to draw attention to ourselves. But as a business owner, you must draw attention to yourself and your business. You are awesome and need to put others on notice about your unique value and abilities. Not in a bragging way, but in a way that shows your special value, and how customers, suppliers, partners and others stand to benefit through it.

Stop telling yourself that your strengths are common and nothing special. That is absolutely not true. I had that same reaction when one of my top strengths, Connector, was revealed through the assessment. I thought, “what’s the big deal? Doesn’t everyone help others see the connections and opportunities in everyday occurrences?” I learned that the answer is, “No, not everyone has that ability.” Instead of continuing to deny my strength, I worked to be aware of it, make it even stronger and engage it more. Eventually it became fun, and I fully enjoy this “superpower”! It is now one of those things that I do easily and acknowledge as a strength.

When you connect with your own unique gifts, you can lose your sense of time. You are “in the zone” and wonder where the day went. You love being immersed in your work and don’t feel drained by it. This strength is what is separating you from your competition. Here is where you need to excel. Here is where your “A” is!

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