Habit: Knowing Your Strengths
The average American spends more of their time at work than anywhere else, and yet the statistics tell us that (depending which report you read) somewhere around only 15% of Americans love their job. This breaks my heart.
I know that pain. I’ve lived that pain. What I found was the best medicine was to get to know myself better. The more we understand ourselves, the more we know where we could best thrive.
A few years ago a friend highly recommended the Strengths Finder test to me, and I decided to invest in it. When I read my top five strengths I had two very different reactions.
The first was reassurance. I knew those talents and gifts were inside of me, and it was so encouraging to see words on a paper that told me I wasn’t making it up.
The second reaction was sadness. I read the strengths and realized I was currently in a role that left about 60% of those strengths on the table. I was using some of them, so I wasn’t a fish out of water, but I was not fulfilled.
Understanding my strengths gave me the courage to start looking for new opportunities. I wanted to use my gifts and talents to make my community better. It surprised many people when I walked away from seven years of entrepreneurship into a full time, M-F office job. I felt completely at peace because what I saw was an opportunity to get paid to use most of my strengths on a daily basis.
I was only two weeks into my full time position when I felt like I needed to pinch myself. I said to my boss multiple times “I get PAID to do this?!?!?” I was having so much fun and making an income at the same time. Many people would not love my job. It’s a combination of details and high level thinking, while managing a thousand hats and bouncing from one project to the next, often times in the same hour. My brain was wired for this type of work and it feels like a square peg in a square hole.
I believe the small investment of around $20 is worth it to find out what your strengths are. Once you’re empowered with that information, you can seek out opportunities that will help you use those strengths on a daily basis. It may mean looking for a new opportunity like mine did, or it may mean staying exactly where you are but experimenting wearing some different hats at the same company.
Creating the habit to always seek out opportunities that will utilize your strengths will greatly increase your overall satisfaction and fulfillment in life. If you are one of those people dreading the alarm clock every morning because your job feels like dying a slow death, stop. Just stop. Re-evaluate yourself. Learn a little about where you can thrive. Begin to seek out a career path or a specific company that will help you become the greatest version of yourself. You are worthy of a job you love.