There is a lingering question in the forefront of our thoughts almost every day. It is a question that we will rarely say out loud or even admit that we think about, but it stays in our mind and raises its loud but silent voice constantly. That question is “Do I have what it takes?” Regardless of our past accomplishments, degrees listed after our name, or what our parents believe about us, this question remains and can haunt us and paralyze us. We may know our top five strengths from Strengths Finder and we may have our personality results from various assessments, yet we likely doubt our ability to do amazing things. I realize that about 10% of the people reading this believe they can achieve the impossible, so if you find yourself in that group, please continue reading so that you can understand how the rest of us might think.
We See our Gaps while Others See our Greatness
There is an untapped resource that is hidden all around us that can unleash our belief and our courage to go after things that we typically leave for others to pursue. That resource is “affirmation.” It usually takes other people’s words to help us go after a huge challenge and pursue greatness. We see our gaps while others see our greatness. So, instead of focusing on how you might answer the question- “Do I have what it takes?” consider being the person that helps others answer the question positively.
This is where the power of an ICNU conversation comes in. The letters” ICNU” represent four powerful life changing words- I See In You. When we see certain strengths and attributes in a person, we have the opportunity to affirm these by affirming what we see and by affirming the impact of these strengths. Affirmation is a lost art and yet it is one of the most powerful tools we have in our leadership toolbox. When a person told me years ago that they saw in me the ability to lead a strong student ministry through my caring heart for students and my team building strengths, I reluctantly believed them and stepped into student ministry leadership. When someone saw in me the ability to step into an executive pastor role, a role I knew nothing about, I took a leap of faith and said yes. Without these ICNU conversations, I think I would have watched others step forward to lead. Affirmation through ICNU conversations have changed my trajectory, my vocation, and my growth.
An ICNU conversation has three specific ingredients:
- Acknowledgment of unique strengths and abilities
- Identification of a big vision
- Defining how the strengths can help accomplish the vision
When we acknowledge someone’s strengths and match them with a compelling vision, we are affirming that we believe that a person has what it takes to step into a role to make a big impact. When we create a culture that does this, then everyone, including us, receives affirmation. The self-doubt and self-condemnation voices begin to lose their power in an ICNU culture. When we focus on others, placing their need for affirmation above our own, we grow a culture where everyone wins.
ICNU conversations can change marriages, relationships between parents and kids, and every work environment. ICNU conversations help everyone move from fear and doubt to courage and belief. Let me ask you to try something for this week. Have one ICNU conversation each day for the next seven days. At the end of the seven days, you will have helped people experience their untapped potential and address the false narratives they believe. Let’s change the world this week through one ICNU conversation every day this week.