Tag Archives: strengths

Así es – y eso esta muy bien.

strengthsEs así.  Unos nacemos con unas habilidades, mientras otros nacen con otras.

Mira a tu alrededor y observa como ningún ser humano hace todo a la perfección.  Si no me crees acuérdate cuando Michael “Air” Jordan intento jugar béisbol.  Rápidamente se dio cuenta que por mas horas que practicara, jamás lograría ser tan bueno como lo es jugando baloncesto.

Al igual que Michael, en tu trabajo – y en la vida en general – tú también eres innatamente mejor para unas actividades que para otras.   Según Howard Gardner, profesor de Harvard University, existen 9 inteligencias básicas.  Según ese modelo, cada uno de nosotros nacemos con ciertas inteligencias más desarrolladas que otras.  Esa combinación define nuestras fortalezas y debilidades.  

Tal como no hay dos copos de nieve iguales, cada uno de nosotros tiene una combinación única de inteligencias, de fortalezas y debilidades. 

Contrario a lo que puedes estar pensando, esa combinación innata es un regalo, no una maldición.  Tus fortalezas innatas son un privilegio – ya que te dan ventaja sobre muchos.  A la vez son una responsabilidad.  Depende de ti reconocerlas y desarrollarlas a su máxima expresión. 

Si en vez decides que has sido estafado por un ser superior (si crees en Dios) o por tus antepasados (si le crees a Darwin), y buscas arreglar tu debilidades, así como Michael, te darás cuenta que aunque mejoraras, jamás llegaras a ser tan buena como si desarrollas tus fortalezas a su máxima expresión.  

En vez de buscar la excelencia en tus áreas de debilidad, busca manejarlas.  Mejora para nivelarte y así no atollarte  o convertirte en una carga para tus colegas.  Puedes mejorar tus debilidades por medio de educación o de alianzas estratégicas con aquellos que son innatamente mejores que tu.  Por ejemplo, reconozco que el campo de finanzas es una de mis áreas débiles. Así que desde un tiempo para acá me he dedicado a estudiar el tema con el objetivo de que esa área no le haga zancadillas a mis fortalezas innatas – como lo son las relaciones interpersonales que me llevan a ser buena vendedora y negociadora.  Tambien me apoyo en personas que excelen en finanzas.  Es decir, he buscado permanecer activa en esa área – sin quitarle mucho tiempo a mis áreas de fortaleza.

Buscar desarrollar tus fortalezas y manejar tus debilidades, no es cuestión de ser mediocre y rendirse o conformarse.  Es más bien tener la sabiduría para reconocer que somos parte de un orden universal – que va más allá de nuestro control y nuestro uso de razón.  Es por este orden universal que nuestras fortalezas tienen una razón de ser.  Cuando las desarrollas a su máxima expresión veras como encajas con facilidad – en ese orden universal.  En cambio cuando luchas contra tus debilidades, las cosas no fluyen tanto como deberían.  Claro que podrás mejorar – pero jamás llegaras a ser tan buena con tus debilidades como lo serás con tus fortalezas innatas.  Al manejar tus debilidades le abres camino a tus fortalezas.  Es por eso que la clave de tu éxito profesional reside en desarrollar tus fortalezas innatas a su máxima expresión y manejar tus debilidades.

Por lo tanto te recomiendo auto evaluar tus fortalezas y debilidades.  Escribe una lista – con dos columnas.

Tus fortalezas son aquellas actividades y competencias que aprendiste fácilmente.  Es posible que ni te acuerdes como las aprendiste – y las haces con mucha facilidad y con gusto.  Piensa para que acuden a ti tus colegas en la oficina.  ¿Por que eres reconocida que haces mejor que muchos?

Y ¿de las debilidades – que hacer con ellas?  No es necesario que las escondas.  Todos las tenemos. Forman parte de tu combinación única.

Ahora si – sal a ganar con tus fortalezas.

Uniquely you (& me)

(Disclosure:  This post is not a feminist manifesto)

Recently I received an email from one of my readers who will remain anonymous – except I will let you know that it’s a male from a sleepy city (his words, not mine) close to Calcutta, in India.

On two occassions he has written to me mostly to comment on what he calls my ‘toughness’.  He insists – and I quote – “You write in a prose which can be best described as ‘tough’. Will you continue to write when you’ll become a lady?”

In a future email, when I ask him to identify himself, he responds: 

“And tenderness has its strength too. Perhaps it is stronger than whatever is ‘tough’. I thought the ladies know.”

I decided to use this exchange to make a few points loud and clear about my writing:

  1. What you read is me.  Nothing more, nothing less. My words and ideas emerge from my core – which I get in touch with every morning at 5am through mindfulness meditation – a technique taught to me by the Thai monk Phra Mana at Sunnataram Forest Monastery.   
  2. My uniqueness is my strength. So is yours.  Surrender to it. Go beyond self-judgment.  To become inwardly driven, focus your thoughts and energy on identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Play to your strengths. Manage your weaknesses.  Strategically partner with those with complementary strengths. Above all, live beyond labels (ie male/female).
  3. Live candidly. If you want to be able to trust people, first be trustworthy.  Begin by meaning what you say. Make sure that you do what you say that you will.  Above all, be yourself. 

So Mr. Gracious Reader, as I responded to you in an email:

“What you read on my blog is me shinnng through as I am – that is me – straight up.  Perhaps you can try to accept me – (and accept yourself) – just as I am (and just as you are)…Surrender to my nature (and yours) and take it all in.  It’s my uniqueness that is my strength…(and yours too).”

Photo credit

You either have it or you don’t

A few days ago, while I was at the hair salon, Debbie*, the twentysomething who was washing my hair, offered to give me a scalp massage.  Without even thinking about it I accepted her very generous offer.  Shortly after she started, it became obvious that she was not good at it.  Aside from missing all the pressure points on my head, her hands had no strength and even felt weightless on my scalp. Sure I’m aware that my assessment of her performance is harsh and to some extent ungrateful.

But hear me out before you judge me too harshly. 

It was Debbie’s subpar performance that made me think about what happens when a person chooses a career that requires them to use skills which they do not have a natural talent for.

Taking Debbie’s example, from how she performed a simple activity with her hands, it appears that she doesn’t have a knack for using her hands, yet has chosen a career which depends on her manual abilities.  I’m open to your opinion, but I suspect that her lack of talent in giving scalp massages is strongly linked to her potential (or lack of) as a hair-dresser.  Granted she’s relatively new in the field, and she could certainly learn the trade, but I think that she’ll never get to be a superstar.  And my main concern is that if she continues to do something she’s not great at, she’s incurring an opportunity cost.  So are her employer and her customers.   The tricky part is she’s just so friendly and has such a great attitude that her employer is probably willing to over-look her lack of talent and her customers are willing to put up with a mediocre service because it’s being delivered with a smile.  

The question is will she be much better off (and successful) doing something that comes naturally to her?  For example, I think that she’d be great in sales or customer service.  By observing her, it seemed that she was enjoying herself and was great at speaking with people and booking appointments over the phone.  Down the line, because she has experience working in a salon, she could sell beauty products and eventually manage a sales team.  All activities which use her communication skills more than her hands.

It might be too late for me to tell Debbie all this, but it’s not too late for any of us to learn from her example.  Take time right now, as I did (while getting a lukewarm scalp massage) to think about your own strengths and weaknesses at work. 

List all those skills that you have that you feel you acquired quite effortlessly and that you tend to be better at doing than most.  Then be honest with yourself and list all those things which do not come naturally to you and that it’s taken quite an effort for you to learn. 

Looking at your list of strengths, do you think you’ll be able to get paid for any of your strong skills?  For example I’m told by those who know me that I have exceptional hand-eye coordination and that I’m a great communicator.  I did play college level tennis but I never developed the strength of a pro.  On the other hand, I’ve made a good living in business development by building strong relationships with clients.  As far as my weaknesses go, while I know enough about balance sheets and income statements, I know that accounting is far from a strength of mine.  It took me way too much effort and time to get a passing grade in my accounting courses in business school.  Consequently I’m not going for the CFO position.

Now what should I do about Debbie?  Should I give her a copy of this post and save her some time?

*Name made up to avoid over-using pronouns.

Like the picture? Zio Dave at flickr