The day you were born, something special happened to the world! However, for many of us, it takes years to appreciate that day and some of us never have. We journey through life wishing that we could be thinner, better looking, smarter, more successful, a better cook, spouse, friend... and the list goes on while our true value and purpose remains elusive.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of high school girls. As part of my preparations I traveled back in time to nineteen ninety something to explore how I thought about my value at the age of 16. As I peered down the halls of time, I saw high school, uniforms, acne, bad bangs, great music, surging hormones and a relatively confident young woman who was not quite satisfied with what she had to offer the world. When she looked around her, her friends were brilliantly smart, amazing artists and singers, natural comedians and communicators while the thing that she was best at was “organizing stuff”. As I told the high school girls, I wanted the strengths of my friends because who wants to be the “best organizer”? So what did I do? I focused on developing some of the skills that I aspired to have and continued to do so through the rest of high school, college and various stages of my career.
Fast forward 20+ years, I was attending a training session with my team which focused on strengths. As a seasoned HR Executive, that has attended numerous training sessions and been profiled dozens of times, I believed that the session would be more of a team building exercise rather than hold any real enlightenment for me. To my pleasant surprise it was more than a team exercise. Much more. I walked away with new, very accurate language to describe my strengths and a deeper understanding of what can happen when I fail to use my strengths or use them too much.
Since that time I have been an advocate of strengths training. Without it, so many of us will miss out on the best parts of who we are and the good that we can do in the world because we are too busy pursuing the strengths and talents of someone else.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that you should not invest in the development of new skills - you absolutely should. However, as you prioritize how to invest in yourself it should be with deep grounding, understanding and appreciation that you came into this world with something special about you - gifts and strengths that no one other than you can bring to the world. Your design.
Whether you believe it or not, it’s in there and you owe it yourself to deeply understand your design then leverage the heck out of it by sharing it with others. It is only through truly appreciating who you are and what you bring to the table that you can make a difference - YOUR difference.
So I ask you today, what’s your DESIGN? What is it about you that is different from those around you? Are you proud of it? Do you willinging share it with others? Do you use it to make your family, neighborhood, team and community better?
I believe that your true purpose lies at the intersection of your design and your desire to share it with others because the simple essence of purpose is about making a difference in the lives of the people that we touch. So go ahead, think about it, talk about it, understand it, harness it! Why? Because you need it, the world needs it...because you are DESIGNED FOR IMPACT
## Leah Dean is an HR Executive at RenaissanceRe a global reinsurance company based in Bermuda. Outside of work Leah is a wife, mother of two great kids as well as the founder and chair of Designed for Impact (DFI) and Young Original Unstoppable (YOU), two movements created to help women and girls appreciate their strengths and uniqueness (their design) so that they can impact their worlds. DFI also aims to help women connect and support one another and at its core believes that “Behind every successful woman is a tribe of successful women who have her back”.