Strengthening Strengths

I didn’t know what to title this blog post, so I stole a chapter title from The Art of Being Brilliant by Andy Cope & Andy Whittaker.

Being as vague as possible, I attended a meeting today where one party was not upholding their part of the deal. My directive was to be “firm” and make it clear what our expectations are and what action we will be taking if this does not happen.

Now I am a people person and very good at the fluffy stuff.

I am not so good at this type of stuff. In fact, I’m absolutely rubbish.

And as sure as the sun will rise, I left the meeting having not really been all that firm at all. I certainly did not convey the message my boss wanted me to convey.

I have tried to get better at this for years, attended many courses but nothing changes. Is this a problem? My employer may have a different point of view, but I don’t think so.

I read a story about a school of animals by an unknown author (i.e. someone probably scribbled it down and it gained momentum) in The Art of Being Brilliant.

The duck was a great swimmer but not very good at flying or running. The rabbit was a good runner but couldn’t swim or fly. The eagle was great at flying, but needed to improve his running and swimming.

The duck dropped swimming classes to focus on running until his feet were badly worn and he was only average at swimming. The rabbit had a nervous breakdown worrying about having to swim and fly and the eagle had her wings clipped so she could learn to run instead of flying. There was a lot more to the story involving climbing, digging, a squirrel, an eel that died and dogs that stayed out of the school. But I think this gets across my point.

Why are we striving for ‘average-ness’.

I’m rubbish at what I was tasked to do today. I know this, my boss knows this, so why was I doing this. I know it is not always possible, but why not give me a task that plays to my strengths.

Why have my employers spent (literally) over a thousand pounds on courses, trying to improve a perceived ‘weakness‘ rather than making me better at what I am already really good at. I know I can make my strengths stronger. They are intuitive, comes naturally and I enjoy them. Unfortunately I know that isn’t how businesses work.

Maybe, just maybe, I need to push myself and find something that really does play to my strengths?

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