Hey! I’m Smarter Than You Think.

Hey! I am smarter than you think.

The past couple of years have been rough for me in my work place. It’s not that my working conditions are horrendous where I am forced to move 100 lb. boulders all day long from over here to over there, or that I have people screaming at me that I suck and they wish I would die, but these past couple years have still been rough. And this is why: I have learned the difference between working on tasks in my weaknesses and working on tasks in my strengths.

I was hired by my employer to do Interior Design. At this company, it means producing commercial floor plans, elevations, site plans and selecting interior finishes for mostly office and manufacturing buildings. I have learned that although Interior Design is what I went to school for, I am only decent at it; I am not great at it. I have found myself feeling more and more dumb because I don’t get the technical aspects of design. Although the project managers have been so kind as to teach me endlessly how roof pitches come together and why a building needs a concrete fire wall on one end and not the other, I just don’t get it. I started to feel guilty and think, “Man, did I pull the wool over their eyes! What did they see in me? I suck at this.” But then I realized, “I’m a great sales person. I’m awesome at selling people on ideas and getting people excited to take action!” I sold my employer on the idea of “me.” At the time, I believed in myself too, so I wasn’t necessarily selling a false product, but I sold them on the idea that, “Hey, if you hire me, I will make you happy and this is why…”

Over the past year, I have begun to learn what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are. I’m great with people and developing relationships. I’m not great at putting together price quotes for carpet goods. I’m great at having a vision for the future and inspiring others to come alongside me and take action. I’m not great at dissecting a website design and putting it all back together again.

If you have that voice inside of you shouting, “Hey! I’m smarter than what you think. I really can do a lot of things well!” I encourage you to take a look at your job or marriage or schooling and really discover where your strengths and weaknesses lie. If you can define your strengths and find a position that really utilizes those strengths, you will experience success.

“Awesome, Alana. You make a good point, but I have no idea what my strengths are or how to begin to find out.” Here’s a great resource to begin with: Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

Does this resonate with you? Why or why not? I’d love to hear from you!

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Alana

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5 thoughts on “Hey! I’m Smarter Than You Think.

  1. THAT IS AN AWESOME PICTURE! Love it!

    You make a GREAT point, Alana! Most of us have been taught to ignore or strengths and to focus on our weaknesses. How can I say that? Think back to school. When you make a 98 in a class with no effort and when you make a 50 in a class with tons of effort, which class are you told to focus on??? The one you did poorly in, not the one that comes naturally.

    Again. Think back to a performance appraisal at work. If you have areas you’re all 5’s in and 2 areas you’re a 2 in, where does your boss expect you to focus your time and effort? In the area you suck at.

    It wasn’t until around February that I learned differently. I joined http://www.freeagentacademy.com and was showed the power of combining a DISC profile with the Strength Finder 2.0 test. Then you take that information and FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS. POUR yourself into the areas you’re wired for and naturally talented in.

    B/c think about it. If you REALLY suck in something and POUR yourself into it, you can go from completely awful to mediocre. But if you are naturally talented in an area and pour yourself into that, you could go from way-above-average to EXCELLENT. Being EXCELLENT is not possible for everyone, so when you find where you can shine like that YOU GO AFTER IT DOGGEDLY.

    You won’t be able to serve a lot of people with awful or mediocre, but you’ll be able to reach COUNTLESS people if you’re EXCELLENT!

    ~Ivan

    • Ivan,

      I’m very interested in learning more about the free agent academy. I plan to rack your brain as well as Justin’s when I see you guys in two weeks! 🙂

      Yeah, I actually believed it was smart to focus all my energy on my weaknesses and make them better until I became involved with a community of people who taught on principles of strength based training. When I first heard it I thought, “Wait. That can’t be right! I was always told in school I had to bring up my grades in those areas that I was weak in.” Ivan, your examples are dead on. You also make a fantastic point about how even if you pour yourself into bettering your weaknesses, you will still end up mediocre. I love it.

  2. I know that for myself I come much more alive when I operate out of my strengths. My mood and self esteem are usually better, which allows me to feed into others instead of taking from them.

    Not saying that people shouldn’t work on their weaknesses, but like Alana and Ivan, I find that I get more satisfaction and am more valuable to those around me when I operate out of my strengths.

    I came across a quote this week that says “Question everything generally thought to be obvious.”
    It might be considered obvious to only work on the things we are no good at…because it will make us better. Right? Maybe? Maybe not.

    I would challenge anyone who thinks they suck at things to re-evaluate themselves. Maybe they think they suck because they are operating out of their weaknesses. Work on discovering what you are good at and attack it. Your world will probably change.

    Holla-
    Josh

    • Josh, I really like the quote you used: “Question everything generally thought to be obvious.”

      There are a lot of things we do culturally that rarely seemed to be questioned. We just do them because it is how it’s always been done. I also liked what you added to that quote, “It might be considered obvious to only work on the things we are no good at… because it will make us better. Right? Maybe? Maybe not.” It is important to search for ourselves our own strengths, what we believe in and why we do things that are deemed “the norm.” I know I am very guilty of letting others tell me what I should be good at and what I should believe. Going through the coaching process with Kent was definitely life changing in helping me to recognize my own strengths and to better think for myself.

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