Part of the Explore your Why – 9 part series
We interviewed Meaza Ashenafi, for Wisdom Exchange TV, she is a quietly powerful woman, who perseveres at all cost. She found herself always wanting to protect those that could not defend themselves; as a result, she became a women’s rights lawyer and activist in Ethiopia. At a young age, she was a protector of her siblings and later an advocate for the rights of domestic workers. Her strength led her to pursue law where she would then have a national platform to lobby for women’s rights. Meaza believes that you need to reflect continuously on our internal strengths. She encourages us to pick up on those strengths and push ourselves. Meaza also believes that if you are in public service, or you have a voice and have public trust, you must continue talking, continue fighting, continue to contribute to making the world a better place.
Listening to Meaza and several people whom I respect, many of them have one thing in common:
They have catapulted off a strength to another to another to find their purpose in serving society ultimately.
When evaluating your inner strengths, you will often see a thread that connects them. I refer to this as your strength thread.
You are born with natural strengths or gifts. Take the time to identify and build on them. Self-reflection can have a significant impact on how you choose to self-actualise and then transcend your contributions, allowing you to experience a higher level of enjoyment and meaning.
Of the women interviewed for Wisdom Exchange TV, Jane Trembath, one of the first female pilots, and Commander of
the first all-female Boeing crew in South Africa was most transparent about her self-reflection and journey to discover her inner strengths. In attempting to find her place in a male-dominated world as a commercial pilot, she continued to try to gain acceptance. It was through extensive journal writing and asking herself: “Why did I react and how could I be better next time?” that provided insight into who she be. The journal writing allowed her to vent her emotions so she could remove them to evaluate the behaviour and reveal her strengths. She shares,
I had felt inadequate because I believed that I had these personality traits that got me into trouble. When I realised those perceived ‘weaknesses’ are actually ‘strengths’ when I use them in the right way, I was able to be the best version of who I was. We have to appreciate our uniqueness because we are built the way we are to fulfil our unique niche on earth.
While exploring your why you may need to peel back the layers to expose your true self and to discover your authentic purpose. As Jane discovered, her journey created an opportunity to mentor young female pilots on how to navigate in a sceptical male environment.
Gladys Muhunyo, a woman we interviewed in Kenya describes how to use your inner strengths best: She says It is all about what you have, not what you don’t have. Begin with what you have, and you will be able to achieve your objective. Know your skills and talents, and your business [and you] will grow.”
We are born with these natural gifts, and so many of us never open them.
One way to isolate your strength is to be. While being present and focused on one task, brainstorm your strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Decide what natural strengths you have that will propel your aspirations, and assess what weakness will get in the way of you achieving them. Be aware of your weaknesses, but put more effort into developing your strengths. Too much emphasis on improving weaknesses will leave you feeling exhausted and discouraged.
There is a caveat: if your weakness, meaning a quality that is a disadvantage or fault, is a skill that you can develop in order to achieve your purpose, well, dig in. Get it done.
We encourage self-reflection to assess how to contribute, next weWednesday will share the best environment for you to contribute in.
Until next time, make your contributions count.
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About the Conscious Contributor
Suzanne F. Stevens, CSP, Conscious Contributor™ Cultivator
Social entrepreneur |International Speaker | Pioneer | Host | Philanthropist | Author
Lead tomorrow’s legacy today.
#YouMeWe Group of Initiatives | Cultivate, Celebrate, Co-create conscious-contributions™
Book launch coming soon: YouMeWe: lead tomorrow’s legacy today
2017 National President: Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS)
Awards: TIAW World of Difference Recipient for women economic empowering
Accreditation: Suzanne is one of 64 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) in Canada and is in the exclusive 15% of speakers who have this designation internationally.