One of my mentors in a leadership program I’m participating in this year said to me this week that other than going to Happy Hour with his wife, a certain aspect of his job was his “most favorite thing in the world.” In his case it’s work he has been doing for over thirty years – and he is excellent at it. We talked about how challenging it can be to back off enough to let others excel at – and learn – in an area that we’re good at and love to do.

It made me reflect about the aspects of my work that I love the most. I love to start new relationships and partnerships – meeting and then getting to know new individuals and organizations – talking about ideas and possible ways to work together – launching a new project and then working together to help it succeed. I’m much more energized by the start of something new – the as-yet-unrealized potential – than in all the details that come afterwards—the negotiations, the implementation and the evaluation. I work hard to manage details because that’s part of every job – but I know it will never be my strength.

Often in our work, we focus on the areas that we need to improve rather than our natural strengths. The Strengths approach says that if we try to be too well-rounded, we’ll never be truly great at anything. If you haven’t dug into the Gallup Strengthsfinder work yet, take a look to see if it’s something that can benefit you in your work – or if it gives you a new way to talk with young people about their strengths.
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