Monday, February 22, 2016

What Do I Have to Offer

I wasn't a best selling author when I started a writer's group in Elko, Nevada. I was a struggling writer who had just published her first book to underwhelming sales figures. 

The Nobody in Search of Success

I was nobody. I started the writer's group because I thought it might help me sell the book I'd just published on how to write a book. 

I might not know how to sell my books, but I had figured out how to write them, so I was confident I could help people who needed help writing. I thought it was my strength - writing - that would make me a good leader. 

I couldn't sell my books, not because they weren't any good, but because I felt so worthless. I had so many doubts about my writing. I thought putting together the writer's group might help me sell them. 

Transforming My Weakness Into a Strength

But in the process, I let them see that I was just as filled with doubt and insecurity as they were. I didn't have it all together. I was just as big a nobody as they felt they were, I was just a nobody who was a little bit ahead of where they were in life. 

I might have some answers, but I certainly didn't have them all. It was my openness and my willingness to share my weaknesses with them that became my real strength. It's why they trusted me enough to share openly with me when they failed at something. It's why my encouragement went right where they needed it most. Those weaknesses are what gave me the ability to speak to them right where they were and help them out of their situation.

The Blessings of Service

That experience of reaching out to others and serving them with what I had was transformational for me. It changed everything. It brought me my first big sale in life. It connected me with other people in a new way. It made me feel worthwhile for the first time. 

I didn't do much for them except offer them a safe place and a safe space in which to share what they'd accomplished each week, to talk about their struggles, to offer them support in their goals. But I gained so much more than I gave.

Hiding Your Weakness Is Your Mistake

When you're down in the quicksand of life, struggling for a single breath of air that doesn't take all of your energy to get, it's hard to imagine that you could possibly have anything meaningful to offer someone else. You feel worthless, weak, helpless, and powerless to change anything.

You try to hide these weaknesses because you don't want to be judged for them. You don't want to be pitied and you don't want people to reject you for them. But the very weaknesses that you try so hard to hide are exactly what you have to offer people.They are power tools for transformation.

Your Weakness Is What Makes You an Ideal Leader

The reason we hate our weaknesses is that they make us feel vulnerable. They open us up to ridicule and attack. They put us in a position of being less than someone else. But it is that vulnerability that will become your greatest asset. It's what makes you the perfect person to help others who are struggling with that same weakness.

You understand their pain like no one else does. So when you talk to them and encourage them, you know what's going through their minds. You know the obstacles they face. You know how to break through to them, how to reach them in that dark space, and you know how to get them to open up to you because you know what it takes for you to open up about your pain to someone else.

You Know Their Pain

You are a safe space for them to confide their struggle, because you aren't going to judge them. How can you? You're there with them. You aren't going to tell them that where they are is their fault, or make them feel worse about their failures than they already do. You know why they fall, and you know what it takes to help them get back up again.

You Don't Have to Have It All Together to Lead

Rather than hide your weaknesses, own them. It's okay that you don't have it all together. Nobody does. Name them so that you can convert them into power tools of impactful service to others. It's easy for you to spot someone struggling with that same weakness, so reach out when you see it happening and offer them support.

Build your tribe by gathering together all those who share your same weakness and providing them a safe space to gather together, to admit where they are hurting, and to find the encouragement and support they need to make progress forward in conquering the weakness. Become a source of strength for them by being the first to admit that you don't have it all together.

This Is Your Battle Ground, So Claim It

Lifting others up in this manner will not only provide you with proof that you can make a positive difference in the world, it will also help you finally make sense out of everything you've gone through. You'll draw strength from the people you serve as you strengthen them, and you'll be transformed from a loser with a weakness into a leader of the lost.

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