Are you letting what you’re attached to define who you are to your disadvantage?
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Do our attachments define us?
Ok, so this is sort of embarrassing to share, but I do think it says something about me and hopefully will provide some insight for you. I have this silver travel mug that I got 25 years ago that I really like. It’s just the right size, lightweight, with a pop-off top, has a handle and fits perfectly in my car’s cup holder. I haven’t found another one like it to replace it. Now perhaps I’m rationalizing to justify this strange affinity, but I really like this particular mug… and I never thought about it much until I lost it.
Thankfully I remembered where I left it (in a shop nearby where I put it on the floor and thankfully they hadn’t thrown it out). I tried to make light of my silly connection to this old decrepit mug as I sheepishly went to retrieve it. Now arguably this could be a collectible from another era since I got it when I worked at The Bank of New York (yet another bank that no longer exists in its previous incarnation) that others likely tossed years ago.
While I’ve thrown out all the tombstones and other finance-related memorabilia (aka swag or landfill), and I have scratched off the bank’s name, there was something about the functionality and practicality of this mug that made it stick. Despite the many other fancy drinking bottles (too cold to hold), sophisticated thermos sippy cups (with the twist off tops) and large carafes with foldable straws (for drinking lots of water) among other fancy new conveniences and inventions, this one holds a special place in my heart.
Notice what’s built to last
My take-away from this experience is that we need to know what we care about and what matters to us. My old silver mug makes me happy, and it’s something I rely upon consistently. It shows up for me every day and does exactly what it’s meant to – keep my beverage hot and be easy to carry with me wherever I go and whatever I’m doing. It is both functional and practical and I like the color silver.
Okay, so now it’s your turn. What item or object can you think of that may be utterly foolish, yet somehow is deeply important to you? Perhaps for sentimental reasons, or something you use often that you really rely upon.
Now I would like you to consider what aspects of yourself are consistent, reliable and completely lovable? These are your strengths, your gifts – your special sauce. This is where the juiciness is. The silver mug reminds me of several of my own qualities – stylish, reliable, always ready to contribute in a pinch, fits in well with others, sustainability-oriented (AKA perhaps a bit frugal at times). You get the point.
You need to know what you are good at and own it. An easy way to figure this out for those of you over-achieving perfectionists who never think you’re good enough at anything, is to think about what everyone comes to you for. What are you known for among confidantes? Are you the fixer, the problem-solver, the one who knows which restaurants are hot? Or do family and friends rely on you to be calm under pressure? Maybe you’re amazing with numbers or for the non-quant jocks, you can read the room like a psychic. For instance, I’m a listener – lots of people share stuff with me they never expected to just because they sense that I will be there to hear them without judgement.
Your skills are like MONEY IN THE BANK! I joke post-banking meltdown, but not really. We all have multiple talents that we often don’t appreciate, let alone acknowledge. These inherent gifts are what make us special, and you can always rely on these skills.
With artificial intelligence developing at a more rapid pace than we might have imagined, we need to come back to our humanity. Our hearts and connection to others. And it pays to know what foundational elements we can always return to. These are your underlying fundamental truths. Your fallback. The easy-peezy things that you know how to do and can deliver with both ease and confidence.
While some skills must be developed over time and get better with experience, there are other natural gifts we possess. And it can be helpful to remember what is within our control. Your skills and strengths – these are your old reliable standby silver travel mugs – the ones that you can’t live without. They may not be new-fangled, fancy dancy gadgets with the extra doodads, but these are your “go to” favorites in a pinch. These qualities are part of your inner essence and what makes you YOU.
|Part of my reflection is to put things in perspective and reinforce the value of gratitude – to appreciate our inherent goodness. Please do not undervalue what you bring to the table because it’s yours. Nobody else’s. And if you know that you have this ability, it’s also likely that others appreciate and value it in you as well. So my friend, work it! Appreciate the good stuff you’ve got!
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