So many times we feel like we fall short as parents - especially when we scroll through our feeds seeing other moms' "highlight reels" aka - all the glory and none of the guts... We know in our heads that the gorgeous healthy meal they posted may have been the first greens they've cooked all week, and that their kid may have refused to eat it demanding chicken nuggets for the 3rd time that day. We KNOW all of this is possible and even probably, yet seeing that photo of "remember to eat the rainbow" tugs at our heartstrings and we immediately think "ugh, how does she do it?! I can never seem to get my act together"... etc.etc.etc. Wash.Rinse.Repeat - daily, heck sometimes multiple times a day! I'm certainly not perfect at combatting this comparison monster, but I recently learned some amazing strategies that have helped me realize and appreciate the beauty of my own reality and put others' picture perfect projections into perspective.
At the suggestion of some of my mentors and friends in doTerra, I picked up a copy of Strengths Based Leadership and took the Strengthsfinder quiz (you can use a code found in the back of the book to take the quiz or head straight to their site and take it). And when I say it was eye opening, I truly was not prepared for the impact it was going to make. The quiz took about 45 minutes - not your average buzzfeed "which hogwarts house are you" quiz. Instead this one was filled with questions like "would you rather feed everyone in the world for a year or cure cancer." Questions where there's no clear "wrong" or "right" answer... and the two choices are both valid, noble, attractive goals/traits/habits. These questions really get to the root of what gets your heart strings tugging. And so, at the end of this 45 minute mind meld, my results popped up explaining my top 5 strengths and I'll be honest, I cried... ok ugly cried.
Gallup, the organization who conducts, promotes, trains and explains this strength test was present at the recent doTerra leadership retreat I attended. The two Gallup researchers presented so much information that continued blowing my mind with facts like - there's an infinitesimal possibility (aka impossible) that anyone in human history has your same top 5 strengths in the same order. YOU are truly one of a kind, not just alive today, but for the entire length of human existence, and not just in your DNA, in your personality.
After spending some time understanding my own strengths, the old comparison monster came rearing its ugly head again "what are the other strengths?" "which ones are the "better" strengths to have?" "Is it bad that all of my strengths are from the same category?" The short answer to each of those are: there are 34 strengths, divided into 4 different categories, none are better to have than others and no - having strengths from every category or just 1 doesn't make you stronger or weaker, just makes you... YOU.
In light of this, all of my constant comparing seemed silly, and kind of pointless - how could I possibly compare myself to someone who is built and equipped for life so differently than I am? Why am I trying to be someone that I could not possibly ever be? And more importantly - now that I know more about what makes me unique, strong, and capable - how do I use that to not only be the best version of myself but use those strengths to impact and serve my family, my friends, my community, the world? I know, it got meta there pretty quickly.
Needless to say, now when my mom friends post about their glorious 5am workout, instead of kicking my own self for not doing the same, my reaction (usually) is more like - WOW, she's incredible... I bet one of her strengths is Activator. I'm feeling super inspired to get back on the body movement bandwagon, what would work for me? (my answer: 2x a week yoga w/ childcare at a female-empowerment body positive studio down the street). And of course, there are times when I am super jealous of a mom's amazing beach vacay pics - but now I know how to handle that in a healthy way and am doing my best each day to navigate using my strengths to find my own way through parenting, in my relationships and my business.
Have you taken the strengthsfinder quiz? Put your top 5 in the comments below!
My top five strengths are: connectedness, empathy, positivity, developer, and relator.