How to Hit Your Stride on the Job

By Sandy Schroeder

Making things happen on the job, taking you where you want to go, sometimes works beautifully, sometimes not. If you are frustrated, or just curious about what you could do better, here's a bit of advice: You may not be using all of your best strengths.

Play from Strength

This may be the best advice for performing well. Know who you are and use your strengths every single time you step into a meeting or tackle a new project. When you do, your chances of being happy and productive may simply soar.

Deep down we all know what our best abilities are. Yours may be persuading others with a smile and just the right words. Or, you may be the one who keeps your work team happy, slipping in a little humor whenever anything gets too tense.

Don’t Waste Time

It took me awhile to understand this, and I would find myself tackling a task requiring strengths I really did not have. After some frustration and wasted time in the wrong jobs, I figured out that words and graphics make me happy, and everything improved from there.

Strengths really are built-in capabilities for thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that we are born with, according to healthharvard.edu. We all have capabilities, but the individual configurations make us who we are. 

Born leaders, artists, comedians, engineers and doctors are often recognizable immediately. If you look around, I am sure you can see this in countless fields. I have seen this in my own family as huge streaks of art and engineering run through lives. When they operate in their field they are awesome. When they stray, not so much.

Make the Most of Your Skills

Of course, a lot can be learned from life and from training in the field or in school, and strengths can be used in a variety of ways. I have seen people who should have been working artists, combine art with teaching and help to inspire more artists. Later, they concentrated completely on art and then fully enjoyed their talents.

But the big point is to play from your strengths. Wherever you are in your career, your field, your dreams and your realities, if it seems right, keep right on going. But if seems slightly off, it might be worth taking the time to step back and review your strengths to reposition yourself.

Let Yourself Explore

If you feel you really are in the wrong spot, you might try exploring another field that attracts you as either a second job or in evening classes. I have watched people do this with rewarding results.

By day they worked steadily, and supported their family. By night they were in the garage fine tuning the project that fascinated them so much. When the garage effort became so successful it needed more space, they rounded up enough money to break out and go for it, never looking back.

We are all different, but knowing who we are and what we do best can be like holding a handful of aces. The game is often ours.

 

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