Tag Archives: Projections

Development Areas are Useful, but the Key is to Play to your Strengths!

“You have Development Areas”

With part of my time spent in the corporate world, I’m constantly amazed at the fixation of many on what they call ‘Development Areas’. As I understand them in how they are described by others, it seems that these development areas are areas of weakness, where you are behaving or operating below the required standard.

Although I agree that we all have these ‘Development Areas’ depending on the context we are in, I don’t agree with our constant focus on them. Often I’ve wondered whether our fixation on ‘Development Areas’ is actually an unconscious way of holding people back and not pushing them forward to fulfil their potential. How many times have you heard? – “You are performing well, but we believe that you have these development areas!”

Fulfil your Potential – Play to your Strengths

In the journey we each progress through in our lives, to live in a state of unconditional happiness it’s critical that we are always consciously focused on fulfilling our potential and living with purpose. It’s true that to do this requires us to constantly explore what we are doing which is holding us back – e.g. our beliefs, behaviours, abilities and attitude – which could be described as ‘Development Areas’. That is, we should constantly explore how we further build or refine our skills, knowledge and/or capability in the context of fulfilling our purpose. But,  this is not the complete picture. To live in a state of unconditional happiness through living with purpose, we need to go beyond the focus on development areas – we each need to play to our strengths!

Playing to our strengths means that we must first know what our strengths are! Often, we get tricked into focusing on development areas, because we don’t always know what we’re good at and what impact these strengths have.

Secondly, when we know what our strengths are, we should explore how we use our strengths to make a positive contribution to society and thus live our purpose!

Finally, in knowing our strengths and how we use them, we should focus on using them more intelligently and more consciously to increase the positive impact we have.

A final word…

When you’re told to focus on your ‘Development Areas’ be sure to listen and understand where extra effort is required to improve in the areas that may be holding you back from living with purpose.

However, beyond this, be sure to play to your strengths. Your strengths represent the things you are good at and through which you will make the most positive contribution to society – your strengths are what will help you fulfil your potential, live with purpose and ultimately live in a state of unconditional happiness! And…the first step in doing this is to figure out what you strengths are!!

Projections – Learn to avoid the Insecurities of Others

Over the recent months I’ve experienced yet another recurring situation where someone had been projecting their fears and insecurities onto someone I was helping. Unlike other times however, where the projections were obvious and clearly wrapped in negative insecurity, this situation was different – the projection was subtle and pitched as a positive opportunity for person, rather than a negative one.

The first manifestation of the projection was the words; “this would mean a promotion for you, and more money”. When the person I was helping told me this, she immediately followed it by saying, “and I didn’t even care about getting promoted, I just want to do what I love.”

After the initial discussion about promotion however, the person gradually became seduced by the opportunity on the table. “Of course, more money would be great,” she said once seemingly justifying the opportunity to herself. But little did they know that the promotion was really just their boss’s unconscious projection of their own definition of success onto them. That is, the boss had staked their life on progressing through the corporate world. They had no clear sense of purpose and so were using progression as a superficial definition of success and a source of distraction from living a full and happy life.

Becoming seduced by the idea of promotion, the person began to forget who they were and what was most important to them. They’d also forgotten their purpose in life, and so;

Promotion had become the more important than purpose.

The possession had become more important than the soul.

The ultimate consequence was that under the pressure they eventually unraveled. Hence, their performance declined, resulting in the promotion being swiftly ripped from their hands. Despite this perceived failure and the negative feedback from their boss however, the person was pleased – they’d escaped from the prison of another’s projections!

The moral of this story is simple:

Listen to your heart and soul – define what success and happiness truly means to you. And when offers are put onto the table, assess them against this definition. Too often the offers for success made by others are more about them then they are about us. However, if we know what success and happiness truly mean to us, then the likelihood of being seduced by the ‘materialistic and superficial’ diminishes.

Stay strong to your purpose!