Sometimes I forget that this Strengths Revolution that I'm so dedicated to is not such a new thing. When we are talking about the History of Strengths, we really should be going waaaaaaaaaaay further back. If we consider how long the concept of Dharma, an ancient Sanskrit word that refers to the laws of truth that govern the Universe; the pillars that uphold our evolutionary flow; the underlying principles that keep all things in harmony, has been around - we might want to give a few shout outs to the likes of some pretty ancient wise-ones. The term is complex and means different things depending on the foundation we're looking at it from- Buddhism, Jainism etc. From an Ayurvedic perspective and as it relates to the individual, when we are expressing our Dharma, we are expressing our uniqueness as well as serving the needs of the world of which we are a part. According to Deepak Chopra (I'm a fan), there are three clear aspects to the law of Dharma (taken from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
, which is definitely in my top 20).
1. We are all here to discover we're spiritual beings. Within each of us there exists a divine spark that is yearning to be expressed.
2. Everyone has specific and unique talents to share with the world.
3. Applying our talents in service of others is essential to realizing the fulfillment that comes from living in Dharma.
Now, I know I may have scrunched a few eyebrows out there with the first point. Whatever your view on spirituality, let's not make that the focus. For me, it's the third point that I find most compelling. Perhaps this is why so many people complain about reaping so little satisfaction from their work even when they claim to be exercising their strengths. Perhaps they are only considering how they will personally benefit from their output or they feel detached from the mission of the organization with which they are currently engaged. In my opinion, if there is no clear sense of how the application of our strengths serves others or the greater good, the fulfillment that comes from practicing those strengths will be short-lived. This does not mean that whatever you do has to be well-received and acknowledged. I still maintain that how we feel about what we are doing is a much better indicator of a strength than how others respond to what we are doing. But we have to have some clarity around how what we are doing is contributing, how we are putting our strengths into service. Dick Bolles, author of What Colour Is Your Parachute
, quotes Fred Buechner, who wrote: "There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work...(and) the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Who or whatever is doing the calling, you can expect to continue hearing it until you do something to honour it. The world needs your strengths!
This week: When considering your strengths, try to articulate how they serve.