Monday, April 29, 2013

Empower Yourself: Lesson #5 - Play to Your Strengths, Handle Your Weaknesses

In this five-week series, we will look at what you can do to empower yourself and take control of your life. Remember, "If it's going to be, it's up to me!"

Math isn't my thing ... not at all. About the only things I can do mathematically are figure out how to double a recipe or halve it (and even then the thirds give me trouble) and figure out how much I'm getting off of a sale item in the store. Anything else, I can't do. In fact, if you look closely, I'm probably moving my lips or counting on my fingers if I can't find a calculator.

I am, however, a writer. I can sit down and write with no prompting. I don't have notes when I sit down to write these posts. I just think of a topic and start writing (excuse the grammar ... that too is not my thing!). Next to writing, I love performance and presentation. I like, dare I say, love public speaking. Whereas a lot of people dread it, I'm energized by it.

I've developed a career around what I love to do and what I'm good at. These are my strengths. As a corporate trainer and instructional designer, I write manuals, job aids and other documentation. Standing in front of a class to teach is a performance (and if you have been a student in one of my classes, you know what I am talking about!).

My degree is in broadcast journalism - a perfect combination of writing and performing. I've worked in corporate communications where I have written profusely. I've even written screenplays, done public speaking and even some acting. Of course, blogging is a major hobby of mine.

I have build a career around my strengths and I can truly say that I love what I do. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to spend my days and earn a paycheck by using my strengths. When it comes to professional and personal development, I choose to focus on things that will make my strengths stronger.

This is not to say that I ignore my weaknesses. I am realistic enough to know that math will never be a strength so I don't devote as much time to it as I do to my strengths. I build strengths and manage weaknesses. When I work on a project that involves math, I know which co-workers have that strength and I get their help. I am able to take care of some basic skills life skills that involve math (balancing a checkbook, determining how much change I should be getting back). For more complicated matters, I have friends that I turn to for help and advice on money matters and financial issues (an extension of my math weakness).

The important thing to remember is that time, talent and energy are resources that are not in an infinite supply. We have a certain amount of all of them. When it comes to my strengths, I want to invest the majority of my time and energy in those things. It wouldn't be a great use of my time or talents if I devoted myself to becoming a math whiz. I devote enough attention to my weaknesses that they do not become problems, and that is all.

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