We talked already about owning your weirdness and being content with the strengths you have, but there’s an often overlooked question within there. How in the world do you do it?
As someone who needed more help than the average bear in this regard, here’s the best advice I have (so far!):
- Keep Learning
- Keep Experimenting
There is a joy to getting clarity… to finally feeling like you have the answer to a question you weren’t even sure you were asking. The thing is, we’re not taking a test where there’s a single right answer. It’s more like a life-long essay question that we keep adding to over the years. There’s always more to learn, if you’re open to learning.
I am still getting new insights on my own strengths. I ask questions of my clients to help them do the same. Sometimes, things become so familiar that we think we know the answer without actually asking ourselves the question. But as humans, we’re always changing. In the same way that the seasons are always changing from one into the next. They don’t change in one day, but rather incrementally until all of a sudden we finally NOTICE the change. The key is to notice what you’re learning (and adjust as necessary)!
The other piece is around experimenting. There are lots of ways for each of us to be successful at work. Just because you have a specific skill set doesn’t mean you’re stuck in exactly the same job for the rest of your life. If you’re enjoying the work, that’s fine, but for many Americans, that simply isn’t the case. So start to think about ways that you can use your exact same strengths slightly differently.
Here’s an example. One of my favorite things to do over the course of my technology career was to help people use technology to be more efficient and effective. Sometimes, that was simply sharing tips and tricks I’ve learned with someone over lunch; sometimes that was conducting department-wide education sessions. Both of those are examples of teaching. I’ve taken that strength and applied it in a new way to the work that I do now: I teach people how to identify and tell their best story so they can work authentically.
You may already be experiencing success by leveraging your strengths. But you may also discover that when you experiment, you start working at a level of success you’ve never seen before!
#PositiveAction Pick a strength to experiment differently with this week and notice what changes!
Photo by me. In a Target parking lot. Proof that inspiration really is all around us if we’re willing to look!