“If you could see yourself the way I see you.” I often think about this saying when witnessing girls being too hard on themselves and doubting their value. How can parents and caregivers empower our girls to discover their strengths?
That is the question I sent to Career Coach and Dream Strategist Kyla Martin. For the past 25 years, Martin has guided new college grads, entrepreneurs, full-time moms, individual contributors, managers and executives at Fortune 500 companies to maximize strengths and pursue passion. Often called the “Purpose Whisperer,” her strength is helping women uncover and apply their purpose in life, including overcoming limitations and creating an actionable roadmap to live the life they always imagined. She graciously wrote the following post on raising strong daughters for Girls That Create.
How to Help Your Girl See Her Strengths
I remember vividly when my niece was about 2 years and she began (what we referred to as) “quiet” temper tantrums. She would lay face down on the floor in the middle of the kitchen, and not respond to anyone or anything until she processed her feelings.
At age 5, she began experimenting with fashion. Her very colorful, mismatched choices reflected her quiet determination to express herself. My sister gently offered other options, but she would simply look away – resolute in her choice.
As she approached her 9th birthday, she wrote in a school paper that she could “feel” her friend’s feelings. As a coach, I was fascinated that she knew this about herself – and had a language for it. She clearly was quietly observing.
Today, she’s 12 years old. She remains quietly determined, resolute in her creative choices and keenly aware of the humanity of those around her.
I refer to these moments as the “whispers.” Patterns that begin to emerge in our daughters. While I don’t know exactly where these whispers will lead for my niece, I believe that they most aptly will serve her if they can be coaxed along and ideally, integrated.
This is what I call, the Strengths Zone.
I believe that we become exponentially better at our natural abilities and only incrementally better at our natural challenges. While I’m not suggesting that there aren’t times that require tasks or areas that we may not love, the more often we remain in our “Strengths Zone,” the more easily that we are fulfilling our purpose – and feel true joy.
Think about a time when you felt “in the groove.” Whatever you were working on probably felt easy, simple and joyful. Hours might have gone by because you became “lost” in whatever you were doing. This what the Strengths Zone feels like — so why not focus on what comes naturally?
In my experience, those early whispers and natural tendencies generally point to our future life purpose. And, the more of the world that is residing in that beautiful groove — the Strengths Zone – the more that we are our most authentic selves.
Great Questions to Empower Your Girl to Discover Her Strengths
• In what areas does she demonstrate natural talents, abilities or understanding?
• When she has free time, what does she love to do?
• Is there a subject she seems drawn to? (area in school, specific type of book or topic, creative area, etc.)
• Would she rather create something using her hands, digitally, visually or using “make believe?”
• How does she interact with her family, her peers and the world at large?
• When does she seem most peaceful? What is she doing?
• When does she seem most excited/passionate? What is she doing? What kind of environment is she in?
Beginning to identify and nurture your girl’s Strength Zone encourages her to expand the areas she already excels, enables her strengths to “be seen” and builds confidence to continue her growth.
Remember, “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are: it requires you to be who you are.” – Brene Brown
I’m cheering you – and your Girl That Creates — on to the Strengths Zone!
Top photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
Second photo by Lonely Planet on Unsplash
Thirs photo provided by Kyla Martin