Wednesday, June 20, 2012

identify your strengths

I recently had an opportunity to examine what gives me energy.

Life can be exhausting. But it doesn't have to be draining.

Work often sucks the life out of people, leaving them feeling deflated.

I don't want to wither up at my job. Or in life.

My heart longs for all I do to be worship. Deliberate and purpose-filled.

Trusting that nothing is wasted, I don't often worry that I've made the wrong decision. God has protected me from that angst and given me confidence that He will use all things for purpose.

Yet, I have struggled in my career. The past three years have brought with it confusion.

I've felt a little bit bored. I've not felt as creative or energized as other positions I've held. 

I created a story that says 30-something-year-olds should settle down in a job. I've let myself feel shame for the number of jobs I've held and the frequency of transitions.

I forgot that it was career advancement and *opportunity* that knocked with each different job.

Still, I know myself and that the work I started doing three years ago might be limiting. I've made myself feel badly for this. I tried to force a defined job without much variety.

I've finally acknowledged that identifying the parts of my life where I feel the most strong tells me something about the work I was created to do. 

I thrive best where there is variety and chaos because it brings out my creativity.

Examining my strengths affirmed what I know about myself.

I feel most strong when I am Idea-generating...thinking-Strategically...Future-considering...Developing-others...

Working in these zones is where I am most passionate. Most energetic. Most fulfilled.

The work itself could have many different colors. And there isn't one specific job that I was created to do.

It's simply doing the tasks that engage with these strengths. Positioning myself where I can most contribute.

I had a seven-month trial of sharing a job with a colleague that crossed two departments. The variety of the work tapped into my strengths in ways I denied they would before we even started.

Through a long, slow realization, I identified that the job was right for me. The work is hardly what I would have chosen. But it's what I can do and do with gusto.

My advice to others would be to press pause on the work you're doing...
     Evaluate what about life gives you energy. 

Write it down. Not the specific tasks per say, but the bigger picture of what it looks like.

     Is it leading? Is it thinking? Is it executing? Is it encouraging?
     What ignites that fire in your belly that keeps you going without paying attention to the time?

Consider this. And then, evaluate how frequently you're engaging in these areas.

Do everything you can possibly do to work more often in these zones.

Do less of what deflates you.

Practice more of what you have passion for. Get great at it. 

Practice less of what you don't have passion for.

In the process, stay focused on *you* and acknowledge who you are.

Don't pay attention to the other guy or the voice that wants to tell you to be someone who you're not.

Don't be concerned about what your job looks like and what you're doing specifically.

Pay most attention to how you're doing the job that needs to get done.

The man who picks up my trash is my health and to my God's work.
     Maybe he sings as he works.
     Maybe he prays for our family, or yours.
     Maybe he is most energized in considering improved ways of managing and disposing of trash.

It isn't the job. It's how you do it that matters most.

Engaging with your strengths is your worship.


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