Work on your strength

December 15th, 2011 @   -  One Comment

Do you feel that you have chosen the wrong field of study or you are in the wrong job? Ordo you feel your talent is not being used at work? If your answer is yes, then you are not alone. According to a Gallup survey, eight out of ten employees worldwide say they are unhappy at work  because they are not using their strengths and do not have theopportunity to do what they do best at work. What are the reasons behind this situation and how can we deal with it?

Once upon a time the animals decided to establish a school. The challenge was to come up with a curriculum that would satisfy everyone. They agreed on four subjects: running, climbing, flying, and swimming. All the animals, of course, had to study all the subjects.

The duck was very good at swimming, better than the teacher. He received passing grades in running and flying, but was hopeless in climbing, so they made him drop swimming so that he could practice climbing. After a while he was only average at swimming, but average is still acceptable, at least in school, and nobody worried much about it except the duck. 

The eagle was considered a troublemaker. In his climbing class he beat everybody to the top of the tree, but he had his own way of getting there. He was told this was not acceptable in school. In order to pass, he had to climb the monkey way.  

The bear flunked because they said he was lazy, especially in the winter. His best time was summer, but school wasn’t open then. And the story goes on… 

The question is this: Is our school system similar to the animal school?  And how much does this affect our way of thinking?

Imagine your child coming home with a report card that shows five As and one F, which mark would capture your attention the most?  Chances are your will spend most of your time worrying about the F and how you can fix it, rather than celebrating the As and capitalizing on them. In fact, the A is your child, not the F. We were educated and trained to focus on what is wrong and weak to fix it rather than what is right and strong to capitalize on it.

Our talents have been unintentionally buried by the people who care for us the most: our parents and teachers. What’s more, a lot of people neglect their talents by living according to scripts written by others or trying to live someone else’s life. I strongly believe that there is an expiry date for blaming the parents and the school for steering us in the wrong direction.  I also believe that God has created us for a purpose. He has certainly planted in us seeds of greatness that allow us to fulfill this purpose. These seeds will remain mostly dormant unless we plant them in the right soil and cultivate them and wait through the growing season for them to take root, bloom and develop fruit.  Your talent and strength lie in these seeds.  If you are uncertain about where your strengths lie, here are a few suggestions to get you started: 

What are you good at?  Find the activity that makes you feel strong

Think about an activity that you consistently do well and with ease that makes you feelstrong and while busy doing it, time flies without you even noticing. Getting feedback from the people around you also helps you uncover your hidden strength. Ask your friends, family and colleagues about what makes you unique and what you do well. Others often recognize what you are good at while you are taking it for granted or fail to notice it. If all of them agree on a particular area, you need to capitalize on it.  

What are you passionate about?  Passion energizes you

A person with a limited talent but passionate about what he does will excel and do things better than a talented person who is not passionate about what he does. Look at any successful person who made a positive contribution in any field and you will see passion. In passion there is energy. It is almost impossible to succeed at something you dislike. Ask yourself this question, “Am I passionate about what I do?” “Does it energize me?” Once you find what you are passionate about, you need to master it.

What gives your life meaning? Use your strength to make a difference

This starts with the ability to find out and understand why you are here on earth in the first place, what you want to achieve, which contribution you want to make and the best way to go about it.  A street cleaner was asked about his job; he answered proudly, “my job is no less important than the job of the doctor.” He added, “I help in preventing diseases while the medical doctor helps in treating diseases.”  When you give what you do a meaning and connect it to your purpose in life, you will find fulfillment in whatever you do.  

How can you sharpen your talent?  Sharpening your talent leads to excellence

Excellence is the maximum utilization of your talent. So focus on what you do well, and do it better than anyone else. The greater your natural ability, the greater your potential for achieving excellence.

To excel in what you do, you need to do something every day to develop your skills and knowledge in that area and learn new skills and techniques to build your strength. I suggest you do the following:

  • Practice and reinforce your talent daily
  • Read at least one article per day and at least one book per month related to your strength zone.
  • Attend one or two seminars per year related to your strength zone.
  • Use your talent to serve others
  • Encourage others to discover and sharpen their talent

In the workplace, manage your weaknesses by delegating them to someone else who has strength in those areas.

From the animal school we learned that ducks are excellent at swimming and flying. They are not good at running and climbing trees. Ducks should do what they are excellent at and so should you!  

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One Comment → “Work on your strength”

  1. yaquine

    4 years ago



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