“Jessica, you’re wrong. That’s not a strength of yours.”

In talking with a friend recently, he asked me if I thought a particular quality of mine was a strength.  I said yes.  He said I was wrong.  I pushed back (with a smile, of course!).   But after reading a book by Marcus Buckingham, Go Put Your Strengths To Work, I realized that he was right.  (Sorry friend!)

Many of us are blind to our best qualities.  When I’m asked to name my strengths,  I often have difficulty doing so.  We are unable to label our core qualities.  Is something we’re good at a strength or weakness in our life? Does a particular relationship or situation give us strength or not?

Buckingham defines it like this: a strength is an activity that makes you feel strong and a weakness is an activity that makes you feel weak.  So, if you’re good at something but it drains you — it’s a weakness.  I think this is true for jobs, people and situations – if it drains you, its a weakness.  If the person or job makes you feel stronger, it’s a strength.  I think we’re talking about passion here.  Are you living your passion?

I’ve been making a list of when I do something I really enjoy.  I’ve started to see a trend in the things I enjoy and am passionate about and the things I’m good at but don’t really like to do.

So friends, ask yourself, what qualities to you like about you?  Do you like your focus?  How about your determination?  Organization?  This will give you some indication of your personal strengths. For example, if you like the fact that you can keep your checkbook balanced and organized, then one of your personal strengths might be organization (and you should come to my house and help me!).  Then, ask yourself if you like doing organizational things or if you just do it because you’re good at it.

Another way to analyze this is to ask yourself, what’s missing?  What do you like to do that you’re not doing?  I’m energized by helping people.  So, when I look at the days when things seem to flow better, it’s because I’ve done at least one thing in my day that was for someone else.

I must say that as I’ve paid attention to my passions/strengths, I’ve found myself drawn to people in my personal and professional life that encourage and support these traits in me.  In return, I hope my friends feel that being with me helps them to see their true inner strengths and passions!

So if you’re not sure about your direction or if you question your present spot, focus on the things that give you joy – the things that fuel your passions.  When you do, I believe your path will appear right in front of you.

I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate. George Burns

Have an amazing day!

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