Figuring Out What You Do Best and How You Do It

Years ago, a lifetime ago it seems, when I was in the financial industry I held several licenses. My stockbrokers and manager license, I think there were eight in total. And each one I had to study a horrendous amount of information, all text in order to prepare for the examinations. It was horrible. I’m not the kind of person that can read information and automatically retain it. Just ask my ex-husband. While I was studying for the stockbroker exam he was in the hospital so every night I would bring my books, notes and home-made flash cards into his room and he would quiz me. My mind works in that way: if I hear it, I normally do not forget it; if I read it all bets are off.

Now my son is a different story. My goodness if I tell him something he will forget it as soon as he turns away. But if he reads something, it is stuck in that brain forever. He could read a book in an hour and the next day ace a test on it without thinking twice. That’s how his mind works.

I recognized this early on with my son and so I have learned to adapt my communication style with him based on how his mind receives and retains information. Then there is the stubborn streak in him, you know, won’t listen to anyone has to figure it out on his own…I don’t know where he gets this, must be from his father’s side…but that is another issue.

My point is, and yes, I have one, we all have different styles of learning, listening, acting and reacting. Knowing your communication style is a great help when looking for a job, building a business or networking. Build upon your strengths and try to lesson your weaknesses.

I have seen many a debate on whether one should build on their strengths or improve their weaknesses. I am of the mindset that one should recognize their weaknesses but build upon their strengths to overcome or compensate for them.

The most important step is to be honest with yourself and do an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Or, if you want to feel better about it: your strengths and challenges. No person is strong at every aspect and it is okay to not be very good at something.

I used to beat myself up for not being good at certain things. I tried to improve on these things only to be frustrated and feel as thought I was struggling at all times. When I finally gave myself permission to suck at certain things and that is when I found the freedom to utilize my strengths to help counter-balance the challenges.

If you feel as thought your quest, whether that be job searching or business building, is not going the way you want – take a step back and see if you are trying to force a challenge or really utilizing your strengths. I would bet that you have stopped doing the things that you are most effective at and have lost some of the joy in the quest. Get back to doing what you do best, have fun and watch the doors start to open.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.

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