Here’s a little personal story about using our strengths and doing what we love.
I went to a seminar with Roz Usheroff probably a decade ago. One exercise she gave me stays with me today.
I talked to 5 friends or peers and asked:
What would you come to me for advice on?
Every one of the 5 gave me almost the same answer:
I’d come to you for help with people situations.
I was working as a presales consultant at the time; and a sales rep I worked with a lot told me this:
“I already do it. Sometimes I take you to a meeting just to get your read on people. Often you get an insight I’d never have. I still do my due diligence but you’re almost always right. It’s helped a lot.”
I spoke to my boss (I was managing a team of 22 presales consultants) and asked:
If you only had me for 6 months, what would you use me for? I told him he could think about it and get back to me; but he said he could answer right away:
“I’d find a team running around like chickens with their heads cut off and I’d send you in to fix them.”
Two things stand out for me from this exercise:
I was delighted! Obviously the ability to understand people and use this ability in team management was something I cared about.
It showed me a strength I have. And it highlighted that I was doing what I loved – working with and understanding people, preferably leading a team of people. Now I’m still using that strength, in a different context, with my coaching practice.
So here are a couple of things this makes me think about:
- When we use our strengths we do our best.
We hear this all the time. This exercise helped give me clarity on a strength I didn’t really think about. It’s great to use your strengths, but can we be sure what they actually are? You can do this exercise – it’s great. And you can take the VIA Strengths Survey: http://www.viacharacter.org
- Do what you love.
I think sometimes this makes us believe we have to be having play-type fun all the time. For some of us, we seem to think that means working anywhere but in an office, doing something exotic or unusual, working at what we now consider a hobby. But it doesn’t mean that. When we use our inherent strengths, we tend to love whatever we’re doing.
What do you do in all areas of your life that show one or more of your strengths?