I recently met with a colleague of mine who is a Productivity Professional. Her name is Dawn and she owns a company called Work in Order. When Dawn and I met we talked about our past lives and what we did before we became Professional Organizers. If you didn’t already know, I had been an elementary school teacher for seventeen years when I decided I was going to leave the profession. I had always thought that I’d be a teacher until I retired. When I was in my mid thirties I started to think about life outside the classroom and all the possibilities. Although I love little kids and loved being in the classroom, I always felt there was something else waiting for me.
During our meeting Dawn and I talked about our strengths – what we love to do. As Dawn talked about her business and how she helps her clients, it was very evident that she loves what she does. She is passionate about her work and in helping her clients become more productive. When I was talking about my work and the variety of things my company does, the same excitement was felt by me. Whether it’s through organizing or helping clients with time management or getting things done for my clients – I love it all. I’m pretty sure there’s even a twinkle in my eyes when I talk about what I do! I know that if I was talking about teaching, the same excitement would not have been shown by me.
Through our conversation, Dawn mentioned a program called Strengths Finder. I had vaguely heard of it but was interested in knowing what it was all about. When I started to read the book and looked into the program, I knew this was something special. The short version of this program is simple: you take a little on-line test and it comes up with your five themes that would be your strengths. This program then lets you take your top five themes and guides you to helping you discover your strengths – both in your personal life and in your work life. I’d like to share three of my top five with you:
- Achiever – “People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.” For those of you who know me personally, that couldn’t be more accurate! I was not surprised this was one of my five.
- Discipline – “People who are especially talented in the Discipline theme enjoy routine and structure. Their world is best described by the order they create.” Hello! “Order” and “Structure” – I’m sure those are my middle names!
- Relator – “People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve goals.” Bingo! I consider all of my clients friends (if not family)!
Although none of my top five were surprising, for me it was more confirmation that I am now using my strengths and loving it! Too many times we find ourselves focusing on things we should be doing better when in fact, why not focus on what we are good at? According to Strength Finder, “…people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths ever day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.” (Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath, ©2007)
This year, as you make New Year’s Resolutions and set goals for yourself, whether it be personal or professional goals, try working with your strengths. For some of you, you’ll be able to work with your strengths on your own. For others, you may feel you need to have a friend help you or hire a professional to guide you in working with your strengths. Whatever path you choose, I encourage you to build on your strengths to find success.
I leave you with a final thought from Strengths Finder 2.0: “If you want to improve your life and the lives of those around you, you must take action. Align your job and goals with your natural talents.” (Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath, ©2007).
Happy strength finding!
Strength Finder 2.0 can be found here