Do you embrace your strengths?

Do you embrace your strengths?  Or do you keep trying to fix your weaknesses?

Harold was a client of mine who really struggled with this.  Harold was a friendly, likeable person who ended up in a career doing pre-sales technical support for a software company. When I first met Harold he was convinced that the reason he was miserable at his job was that his weaknesses were getting in his way.  I asked Harold to list his strengths for me, and he would say something like, “Oh I don’t know.  But I hate working with so many people, and I need to do a better job of working with others.  I don’t want to give presentations in front of a group, but I need to do that better.  I waste too much time delving into details. I’d love to work on my own, but that doesn’t work at my company. I hate my job and I just need to change.”

As we worked together, Harold began to see that these weaknesses he was worried about were actually strengths that he wasn’t taking advantage of.  Rather than working with a team to solve a problem, Harold preferred working on projects where he did a lot of work on his own, and then reported the results to a manager or to his team.  He enjoyed answering questions and sharing his expertise with individuals, just not while doing formal presentations in front of a group.  Harold was really good at researching a problem thoroughly and finding the root cause.

As Harold began to see that all the weaknesses he worried about, would be considered strengths in a different job, his confidence grew.  And he began to look at options.  He discovered that working in Quality Assurance or testing software would really leverage his strengths, the ones he fought against in his current job.  So he met with the QA Manager and discussed his options.  Harold was able to work part-time on a testing project, to try it out, and see if he’d like it.  As it turns out, he loved it.  And soon the company created a new position and allowed him to transfer.

What about you?  It can be so easy to focus on where we think we need to be fixed that we miss seeing our strengths.  And in seeing those, we can see options and opportunities to create a thriving new career for ourselves.  Are you embracing your strengths?  Or are you fixing your weaknesses?

It would be so helpful to others if you would share your stories on my blog.

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Client Stories

 I was looking to make large changes in my life, both job and city.  I was a happy midwestern resident for nearly 30 years but wanted to see what life on a coast was like and get a dream job.  This was a tall order and going into it I thought I would have to make large compromises on parts of my dreams to get any of it.  

I went to Lori to help me achieve these dreams.  It was the best decision I made.

She focused on two things right out of the gate:
  1. clarify my goals, both personal and professional
  2. get me to stop selling myself short

These twin achievements allowed me to approach my hunt with confidence, patience and focus.  My original dream job was to try and combine my technical joys with a personal one.  I enjoy large scale data processing with cutting edge tools, music and baseball.  Through the tools Lori taught me and helped me unearth in myself I got that gig that would have fallen into day dream territory before our work together.  

And yeah, there's platinum records on the walls of my lobby and I have tons of data to process.

Pat Christopher, Intelligence Engineer, Seattle, WA