Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.–Albert Einstein
At an early age most people begin to believe that there is something wrong with them, that they aren’t loveable, worthy, vital or strong enough to be, do and experience all they long to in the world. In thinking there is something wrong with them, people look outside themselves for validation, compensation, love or just to escape their ill-feelings toward themselves.
It is through this lens that children approach their education and begin their careers with a keen awareness of what they are not. With this thought dominant in one’s mind, it becomes challenging to focus on the uniquess each person possesses and build a life based on the value of who we are and what we have to offer the world.
Like Einstein, I believe that everyone has a gift and a unique combination of talents, strengths and skills that once understood are the foundation to leading in one’s life.
Understanding what makes one whole isn’t just a quaint concept, it is unavoidably the first step creating a meaningful and successful career — that is if one wants to enjoy their work and be satisfied in their compensation, recognition and impact.
This approach means that we have to turn professional development upside down — it can no longer be about filling “holes,” a classic response to “fix” a problem which stigmatizes people and perpetuates the feeling that there is something wrong. Instead, it is essential that the focus turn to what’s right with individuals and how to match their leadership with the best role to achieve the organization’s desired outcomes.
By amplifying what is right with employees the culture changes immediately. People are free to connect with what they love most about themselves and to share it with others in an atmosphere that values honest communication and the incredible worth of each person.
In an era where human capital is an organization’s greatest asset, is it not time to support what’s right with employees, rather than focus on what’s wrong?
It is a new way of thinking and one, with practice, that turns not only organizations around, also the lives of those who work there.
Kathleen Schafer is the Founder and CEO of the Human Being Store, where people come to Get Their Gift and learn to practice it in their work and life. She created the powerful Leadership Connection Model to support individual leadership development and authored “Living the Leadership Choice” and “Choose to Lead.”