What do you bring to the table?

Some people can easily tell you what they can bring to the table, while others are unsure if they have anything worthy to offer.  Individuals in the latter group do not realize that everyone has something to offer.   They just may need to look at themselves in a different light.

Taking stock in yourself can be difficult.

There is an episode of the Honeymooners where Ralph wants to be a success in life.  Ralph decides to list all his strengths and weaknesses.  He enlists his neighbor and best friend, Norton, to help him.  Norton was able to come up with 5 of Ralph’s faults and only 1 of his strengths.

A lot of us can see all our faults but have trouble seeing our strengths.  When this happens, we should not throw in the towel and give up, nor should we say it is hopeless and sulk.  We just need to look at ourselves in a different light.

Shine the spotlight on yourself

When we look at ourselves and have trouble seeing our strengths because we only see our weaknesses, it is time to gain a different perspective – we need to look at ourselves through the eyes of others.

Start asking questions.

Ask yourself, what do people like about me?  What do people like asking me to do?  What do people ask my advice about?  The answers to these questions will give you some insight on what people believe you have to offer.

If you only come up with one or two answers to those questions, don’t stop.  Think harder.  We all have more assets and talents that we can see on the surface.

After you have racked your brain, then it is time to start talking to the people you know that you value and respect their insights.

Ask your friends, family and your co-workers, what they like about you.  What do they always think of asking you about before they ask anyone else.  Ask them what they know you are good at.  Notice I did not say “ask them what they think you are good at”.  I want you to find out what they actually think you are good at.  If you ask them “what do you think I am good at” that word think will haunt you, so do not use it.  Ask it where the answer has more credibility in your mind.

Your list of what you can bring to the table is not complete yet!

Take one last look at your list of shortcomings.  In that list you may find some hidden strengths you can bring to the table.

For example:

  • If you are blind, then you might be able to bring to the table the ability to read and write in braille.
  • If you are a former drug dealer, you may be able to bring entrepreneurial skills and talents to the table.
  • If you were bullied as a child, you may be able to bring compassion for others.

One last word of caution:

Now that you have armed yourself with strengths to impress an interviewer at a job or a date who you hope will be a prospective mate, be confident of what you can bring to the table.  Just be careful not to become overconfident.  Overconfidence can lead to being arrogant, and arrogance can lead to a hard fall.