Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen offers a powerful image in his song “Anthem”, an invitation to look at our weaknesses as a way of letting light in. Everything and everyone is imperfect. We all have cracks. And, we often spend more time on the cracks and weaknesses than our strengths. I invite you to reframe weakness as a way of letting light get in. A light that shines on our strengths.
Gallup often notes that 60-70% of our weaknesses are actually just an over or under use of our top five strengths. When people get their Gallup Strengths Finder results they often want to know what is at the bottom of the list. They ask…”How do I fix my weaknesses?” If we reframe weakness, we look at our best strengths and ask “How can I look at one of my strengths as an opportunity to manage my weaknesses?”
We look at our own “cracks” and discover light.
Imagine your greatest strength is Responsibility. You are energized by completing tasks and staying true to your word. “If I say I will get it done, you can count on me getting it done”. Yet, sometimes this greatest strength can get in our way by saying yes to too many things, or the wrong things. Or, sometimes our employers know we have responsibility strength and they ask us to do too much because they know they can count on us to complete the task.
Responsibility is an amazing strengths in the workplace. And, yet it has a sneaky way of entering into our homes. It can show up as a crack if not well managed. For example, you say yes to so many things at work that when you get home you have to work at night or on the weekends to meet all the expectations. Shine the light on this strength and see how by turning your responsibility on you and your family you can manage your strength from being a weakness. “Tonight, I’m going to make sure we all have dinner together and spend the evening together, you have my word on that!” or “Tonight, I’m going to make dinner for myself and watch a movie I’ve been longing to see”.
Shining the light on strengths can often reveal weaknesses. Being generous with this process can show how the cracks are really a way to make our strengths shine. We are stronger when we look at the cracks of our greatest strengths.
Artists often recognize imperfections.
Chihuly, the famous glass artist, recognized that glass is imperfect. He worked with those imperfections to create amazing art. As one glass artist wrote, “Glass is like a butterfly – a thing of beauty. But it isn’t perfect”.
The Navajo also recognized the importance of letting light in to their tightly woven rugs. In theses beautiful weavings you can find where they intentionally interrupt one stitch to let the light in.
As you look forward to 2019, I encourage you to look at your strengths, look for the cracks, and then let the light shine in so you can bring your best self to family, work and community.