Too Much of a Good Thing

You.  Thin Mints.  Just sayin’.

Two ways you’ll know if this is you.

You know that moment.  The first thin mint is glorious….you have another.  Then another.  And soon that very small sleeve of deliciousness is gone, and then the second sleeve…Was the 32nd  as good as the first?  Did we need the other 31?

Anyway, you know the feeling.  Too much of a good thing may not be incrementally better.  And at some point, it’s well, worse.

So, let’s consider this from a workplace point of view.  Let’s say you identify with one of the following:  You have a strong work ethic, or relate strongly to others, are an achiever, have a orientation to planning and organizing, are responsible, have a zest for competition, your’e highly analytical.

Have you ever been in a situation when any of these strengths became problematic?  Is there an optimal use of our strengths?

Yes, absolutely. Strengths overplayed become a disadvantage to all of us.  And ironically can breed stress, resentment and exhaustion.

Alex Linley’s definition of a strength is a pre-existing capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is authentic and energizing to the user and enables optimal functions, development and performance.

We can gain significant personal and professional value from connecting to our strengths, here are some benefits, they give us:

  • increased authenticity (i.e., being our true self)
  • intrinsic motivation
  • a sense of flow and positive experiences
  • our life more meaning
  • helpful coping mechanisms
  • greater psychological well-being
  • less stress; less depressive symptoms
  • higher job satisfaction and…
  • increased engagement

The challenge is all about the balance.  Because itt should also be noted that just using your strengths more is not really effective.

To be truly leveraged, strengths should be developed and used in the context of situational awareness.  Meaning using them the optimal amount in the right situation.

For example, if one of your strengths is honesty, are there any times that you would not be honest?  Or that you would be less forthright with your opinion?

And how would we even know that our strengths are even being overused?

Typically, we know they are being overused in one of two ways.  We receive feedback from those around us that is not in alignment with our intentions.  Our ongoing focus on creativity, our quest for originality, becomes eccentricity.  Or our pursuit of teamwork feels like dependence.

Or we realize that internally our energy in the use of our strengths, begins to drain.

Examples:  Planning, Organizing, Responsibility

Because even the most amazing strengths, can be problematic in reality or perception by others:  Honesty can be righteousness, kindness can become intrusiveness, fairness is detachment, teamwork, dependence and perseverance, obsessiveness.

To use our strengths, we must consider how to use them optimally.  Consider the following in the application of yours:

1.     Know your strengths
2.     Be self aware
3.     Find new uses for your strengths
4.     Ask for feedback

Because if you are a thin mint….you’ll garner a lot of fans and followers but with 16 per sleeve and 160 calories in 4 cookies, 40 calories a piece.  At some point, it just might be too much.  For you and for those around you.