In autism land, we hear a lot about the challenges and struggles of having a different brain. Unfortunately, we don’t hear enough about the gifts of having a different brain. Not the giving, getting, and buying kind of gifts, but rather, your innate, natural gifts. The strengths that come with your specific, one of a kind, different brain.
The reason we spend so much time focusing on and appreciating our abilities and talents is because we live in a society obsessed with pointing out flaws. As someone who is well aware of my shortcomings, I find that obsession depressing, and also really useless. What good does focusing on your weaknesses do? Instead, we need to focus as much on our strengths, talents, gifts, passions, and abilities as we do on our sore points.
The multitude of differing strengths out there can be overwhelming, there are A LOT! Folks can be good at all kinds of things. So, how do you figure out your own abilities? Through discovery. Discovering which strengths are yours, can actually be a lot of fun. After all, doing things we are good at brings joy, and raises self-esteem.
Here are 5 great ways to discover your strengths:
- Know Your Values: Knowing your values is something I talk about a lot. Think about the different areas of your life (like health, career, family, etc.), and make a list of what’s important to you. When you explore what is truly important to you, it helps direct you towards your goals and gifts.
- Follow Your Passions: The reason we love our special interest time is because it recharges us in the way only your passions can. That energy is what we want more of in our lives because it is usually deeply connected to our innate gifts. If you follow what lights you up, you will bump right into your strengths.
- Ask Your Bubble: Some of us really struggle to see our own abilities. It can help to touch base with those you trust the most, your bubble people! They are in your bubble for a reason, so ask them what they think about your strengths and talents. Bet they have quite the list…
- Experiment: I know trial and error doesn’t sound appealing at first, but it is a truly magical way to find hidden gifts. Get out there and try new things. You might just surprise yourself.
- Work with a Coach: There are definitely times when we benefit from an outside opinion, need a cheerleader to help you stay on track, or to keep you going when your motivation drops. A coach or mentor can be there to give you the push you need to feel confident as you identify your strengths and guide you in making use of them.
Strengths need to take priority over shortcomings, and you deserve the joy that comes with discovering them, appreciating them, and making use of them. Flaws be darned! It’s time to celebrate what makes us shine.