A guy on a TV show was talking about the myth of our personalities changing as we grow older (actually, the guy was motivational speaker Marcus Buckingham and the show, Oprah). He also suggested that we should try, in most situations, to magnify our positive traits instead of being obsessed with reducing the negative ones. It’s not all that groundbreaking but I thought I’d share how this approach has helped me in my work.
As a child, I had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a knack for problem-solving. At the same time, I was reserved and hated confrontations. I always thought I’d mature into a gregarious, eloquent woman. It didn’t quite turn out that way. Attempts to condition myself into becoming more of an extrovert was futile and eventually, I stopped trying.
I work as a designer, which is great because it involves doing a lot of research and finding the right solution to a client’s problem. This part of the job gives me great satisfaction and when I nailed the brief, I feel strong.
My job also requires me to interact with many different individuals and manage conflicts — two things I don’t enjoy but have accepted as part of the job.
It was a shift in mindset I had about 2 years ago that made this part of the job bearable. I started looking at meetings as opportunities to learn and solve problems. The more I open myself to learning at these discussions, the easier it is to find a solution, the less time I need to spend in meetings. A win-win situation for all.
The next time you are faced with a difficult situation that seems to suck all your energy out, stop and think if there’s another way to approach the problem, one that puts your strengths to good use. It’s much easier working with your strength than trying to work against your weakness.