I received a gift copy of the book Strengths Finder 2.0 last night and read it in one sitting. This is a short little book with an accompanying assessment that helps us determine what our top 5 strengths are.
The author suggests we should focus our lives and work around what we’re good at (our strengths) as opposed to constantly trying to fix what we’re mediocre or even terrible at (our weaknesses). There’s a great line in the book that I’ll share with you here:
You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.
The book goes into depth with this idea more – but basically, it means “don’t spend a lot of time and energy trying to be something you’re not.” Do what comes naturally to you – focus on what’s easiest for you – and gravitate towards the work that automatically inspires you.
If you’re trying too hard to enjoy your work (or if you aren’t enjoying it at all), then you’re probably in the wrong area.
Don’t know about you, but I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to be something I’m not. I’ve had my fair share of jobs/projects that lead down a path to nowhere, in terms of deep/fulfilling enjoyment. That never worked out well.
The reality is that I will always possess certain core characteristics, certain traits that will make me naturally good at what I’m good at. After doing the Strengths Finder assessment, I discovered that my top 5 themes are:
No wonder history always bored me; I am ultimately more fascinated with the future.
These results were interesting, but they didn’t really surprise me – I know myself well. What surprises me is why I never realized that strategy can be a key part of my own work. I am inherently a futurist, a strategist. Writing just happens to be my primary mode of communication. (Whereas before, I always thought of myself simply as a “writer.”)
To date, all the work I’ve done for repeat clients has involved strategizing of some sort. It’s my brain power, my ability to “peek over the horizon,” that makes people want to work with me. It’s not necessarily the writing.
Those clients who hired me for one-time writing projects usually never returned. But the clients who hired me for my brain power were worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars over the long run.
I now invite you to look at your own work, and see if there are any patterns that emerge. Are you being who you really are in your work? Are you doing work that focuses on your strengths rather than your weaknesses?