On the anniversary of one of my favorite rappers, Biggie Smalls aka Notorious B.I.G’s death; I’ve been reflecting on the relevance of a quote he had in his song “Juicy.” This song in retrospect spoke to important lessons about finding and developing your strengths in order to live a life beyond any you can imagine. The lyrics of the song went as follows:
“It was all a Dream, I used to read Word Up Magazine, Salt and Pepper and Heavy D up in the limousine. Hanging pictures on my wall, every Saturday, Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl.”
Whether consciously or subconsciously the message behind Biggie’s words ring true today for those hoping to discover or develop their strengths. My personal and professional experience with self-improvement, leadership, strength finding and building a successful life has given me the opportunity to study and speak about the subject of strength building in various forums. Anyone who is trying to develop their own personal strengths in hopes of living their dream life can take the following lessons from his lyrics:
- Visualize– “Hanging pictures on my wall” If you don’t dare to visualize what success looks like to you, then how will you attain it? Take time to write down what your strengths are and what success would look like to you in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years. If you can’t visualize what a successful life will look, taste, smell and feel like, how will you ever achieve it? Use pictures and images that inspire you and look for things that are exciting. If you are passionate about your work, it doesn’t feel as much like work; it feels like you are in your element and your strengths will develop as a result.
- Research- “I used to read word up magazine.” If you have a goal of being an accountant than you need to research how people in your field became accountants. My passion is coaching, workshops, trainings and public speaking so I began researching the people in the field that were doing the same. Market research will tell you what is relevant and allow you to see what is out there. Research can show you who if anyone in your profession is doing similar things that you would like to do. Sometimes we think we need to not only reinvent the wheel but the entire car. Take your time and study your profession in order to develop.
- Consistency- “Every Saturday, Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl.” Successful people take time to develop their strengths and skill set. You can be naturally good at something but that will only take you so far. Consistently developing your strengths is vital because there is always someone who will be just as hungry for success as you. Study your profession or passion, attend workshops, coffee chats, and read literature. We are in an age where information is at our fingertips, so take advantage of it and try to do something every day towards developing your strengths.
Over the past few years, I have spent lot of time cultivating my strengths and helping create a life beyond any I could have imagined. I’ve been told by mentors to write down goals that I have for myself, and someday I’ll look back on that list of goals and see that I was cheating myself. And that’s exactly what had happened, I’d been cheating myself. Mostly because I never dared to dream that “impossible dream.” In this process of self discovery, I’ve slowly started moving into a life and career that matched my dreams and strengths. I’ve tried to give voice a voice to the voiceless, give hope to the hopeless, and give strength to those who are struggling. However, there came a point where I felt that my individual strengths, talents and dreams were being underutilized thus short circuiting my growth and development. The decision was to either remain complacent or make a change! This is the point when I had to Visualize, Research and Consistently work on my skills. The importance of taking time to develop my gift and follow my passion has been the greatest undertaking of my career. But I had to make the decision to chase this dream of mine and put the time and effort in. I knew that I needed to seek help from those who had experience and ask them to mentor me. Their time, support and encouragement has been vital to the process and for that I am eternally grateful. So take the time and be good to yourself, you are worth it. You have a unique skill that can be cultivated to maximize your potential. What are you waiting for? Visualize, Research and Be Consistent! And Dream the Impossible… Aubrey Hepburn once said “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.”