I attended a quick little meeting for work yesterday about focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. This pretty much goes against everything we’ve been taught about work and life and performance reviews. You’re supposed to identify where you need help and fix those areas, but maybe we shouldn’t?
Maybe we should just say, “yeah, I’m bad at public speaking, but I’m really good at one-on-ones and I love to hear people’s stories rather than talk at them.” And then, instead of focusing on training and making yourself better at public speaking, you just have more one-on-ones and you make your strength in that area even better.
Wouldn’t we all be a little better? Wouldn’t we then have a team of people who round you out, so that you all excel in what you’re good at?
This got me thinking about my strengths. A few years ago I had to take the strengthsfinder test to see my five strengths for work at the Ohio Union. It was the best thing I could have ever done, and I learned so much about myself.
I found that my strengths are as follows:
This pretty much means that the future fascinates me, and very often people look to me to describe my visions of the future. The strategic perspective allows me to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Through empathy I can sense the emotions of those around me, I can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are my own. Intuitively, I am able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. I help them give voice to their emotional life. Restorative means I love solving a good problem, whereas some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, I can be energized by it. I also want to include people and make them feel part of the group. In direct contrast to those who are drawn only to exclusive groups, I actively avoid those groups that exclude others. I want to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support. I hate the sight of someone on the outside looking in.
It’s interesting that these are the strengths I had in college and yet they still seem somewhat applicable after college. I love fixing problems and working to make sure that everyone feels heard and supported. It’s also interesting how all of these strengths go hand-in-hand.
What about you, what are your strengths? Do you think they change as you move from one life phase to another (e.g., from college to the real world)?