For me doing practically anything an Olympic athlete does is impossible.
For me, building the financial models that power big companies is impossible.
For me, playing in the NFL is impossible. (Don’t believe me, download a few photos)
It’s true that I don’t know how to do any of these things, but it’s not just a knowledge shortage I have. It’s more than that—I simply don’t have the natural gifts that would make these things possible, even if I worked my tail off for a decade or more.
But what if this is OK?
What if I can do different things—things that are actually quite impossible for others?
And what if YOU can do things that would be impossible for me?
(I suspect you can.)
What would happen in our workplaces if we encouraged our colleagues to do the impossible things; the things we couldn’t imagine being able to do? What if we pushed each other to that level of mastery of craft, that sharp of an edge of strength?
We’d have to be a lot more comfortable with the fact that well-roundedness is as realistic as a unicorn parading down our office hallway. We’d have to make peace with the fact that we just kind of suck at some things, and that those things we suck at usually suck the life out of us, so why do we care so much about them anyway? We’d have to get more comfortable with praising others for doing things we can’t do. We’d have to take our own egos down a notch (or fifty).
But just imagine: colleagues all around you doing things that feel amazingly, unattainably impossible to you. And teammates who look at you with the same kind of wonder about the ‘impossible’ things you’re doing.
Wouldn’t that be the coolest place to work in the world?
(Your company would likely make a boatload of money too, if you care about that kind of thing.)
Well, this is what we call a strengths-based organization, and it is the workplace of the future.
A version of this was first posted on beforte.com