Strengthening your strengths
May 1, 2013
They say if you find something you enjoy doing, you’ll never work a day in your life. Very cliché, I know, but let’s consider that thought for just a moment. What if you think, well I enjoy playing baseball – but chances are you are not cut out for the major leagues (or minor leagues, for that matter). Or maybe you enjoy cooking, but you probably won’t be the next Rachael Ray or Bobby Flay. So then how do you make this statement a truth in your own life? I don’t think there is a cut and dry answer, but I do think it is possible to find a way to be happy.
Recently I learned about a book called, Strengths Based Leadership, written by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. I haven’t read the entire book, but the idea is that if you focus on strengthening your strengths, rather than trying to strengthen your weaknesses, you have a better chance at achieving overall success – professionally and personally. The results of studies conducted (mentioned in the book) showed that young people with confidence in their specific abilities started out with higher incomes; and as they progressed in their careers, the difference between their incomes over the incomes of the lower-confidence group increased over time. It was also discovered that people with more confidence had significantly higher overall job satisfaction. So could we say then that to be happy in your job, you should find something you are good at and focus on that?
Okay, sure, let’s find something we are good at doing at work and we’ll enjoy our job, but how do we find happiness and success in our personal lives as well? Since you asked, I think it’s by finding the things that are important to us and making time for them – whether it is spending time with family, enjoying hobbies, playing sports, or whatever you enjoy doing during your personal time. And I’m no expert at this, but I think reaching happiness in our personal life is also by achieving the right work / life balance that works for your own life. If you focus too much time on work, your personal life with suffer; but at the same time if you focus too much time on your personal life, your job will suffer. There is a balance that must be achieved and I think that balance is different for everyone – and I also think it can fluctuate and change over time depending on your circumstances.
So after all is said and done, I think I do agree with the cliché, but I think we are responsible for achieving happiness in our professional and personal lives. Find your strengths and strengthen them and find what makes you happy and do it!