strengths and working with them

It’s a funny thing that our whole society is geared towards weaknesses. Much of our school years are spent trying to make up for deficits, instead of focusing on strengths, and I didn’t realise how weird it was until I started working where I work now. Strengths based leadership is based on a theory that says that if we all work towards our strengths, we’ll be happier and thus more productive. If we know what those strengths are, and know what those of our fellows are, we can work towards them, and help mitigate their occasional downfalls.

What does this all mean? Well, at work it means making sure that you can do what you are great at every day. For me, that’s research and writing (yes, I love those things). For another person, it’s ticking everything off the list (that’s some people’s idea of heaven). You’ve heard of the saying, “it takes all kinds and conditions to make the world,” right? Well, we think it takes all kinds of people to make a successful business (and, by extension, a happy home, depending on what you’re doing).

For example, my strengths are Input, Relator, Adaptability, Restorative, and Individualisation (in order of strength). Input as number 1 means that I love collecting things, and for me that’s information. I research everything, I ask a ton of questions, and more importantly, I love to communicate that information. I love to corral all the information into easily digestible snippets. If I ask a lot of personal questions, it’s not malice – I just want to know. As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as too much information. I want all of it. I think that’s why I studied a BA, and why I love my job so much (product researcher and copywriter). I get to do what I love and what I’m great at every single day.

My other strengths, Relator and Individualisation, refer to people. I like people, but I like to make strong, one-on-one friendships with people (that’s how Relator works for me). I’m not great with crowds, and my idea of a nightmare is being made to go to a party where I know no-one. But put me in a situation where there are lots of strangers (like a new work environment), I will be happiest making friends with different people, one at a time. Individualisation helps me see all the little things that make both people and things different to one another. These three strengths working together, means that I tend to have informed, intuitive insights into people, and make really good friends (if only one at a time).

Just think. What would you do, if you could do it every day? Do you think that you work to your strengths, or try to fight your weaknesses? Are you doing what you love? What you’re meant to be doing, in some form or another?

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the big decisions

recentsThe big decisions, I find, are those that hit you like a ton of bricks one quiet Sunday afternoon. There you’ve been, minding your own business, tootling along in the slow lane of life, enjoying the scenery, and within a matter of minutes, there are these huge decisions lurking on the not-so-distant horizon that you have to make, one way or the other.

You can, of course, choose not to.

You can go along with the things you’d planned, and disregard any elements that could knock you off that course. You would be perfectly within your rights to just not look in that direction for a bit, until the unsettling thing had gone away.

But, when you’re me, you look at it. And you turn it over in your mind, trying to see all the possible avenues, repercussions, and ripples of what that element, that spanner might throw into the works. When you’re me, you cannot simply look away. You jump emotionally into the breach, and it’s as though the decision has already been made, and you’re standing there on tenterhooks waiting to see what will happen.

So, now I bet you want to know what I’m talking about, right? Well. It’s a bit complicated. A few months ago, the hubs and I (instigated by me, strangely enough – and contrary to all former statements), started talking about having a baby. Yup. I know what I said. But you remember what I said about change and changing minds? This is one of those things.

You see, I’m comparatively young. Young enough to have made sweeping statements in the past, but also old enough to realise how sweeping and how limiting those statements were. I’m getting a little older and a tiny bit wiser, and I realised that I’m not held accountable to old decisions. I don’t have to go along the path set before me by my own history, any more than I have to go along a path set by someone else. And so, when I started getting stirrings of wanting something I had never wanted before, I realised that yes, change is possible and sometimes even welcome.

And so it was, as we were going around show houses (yes, we’re going to move soon, too), that we stumbled upon a house that changed everything. We’ve been looking for a small place, 2-3 bedrooms, preferably with parking and a little garden. We like light, and ideally, would be not too far from either town (where we hang out) or work (these two things are, we realised like finding a unicorn). We’ve got a smallish budget, and houses that we like are sold before we’ve even fully contemplated how it might be to live there. Then we came across this gorgeous place. Three bedrooms, braai area, pool, garden, lovely kitchen, and – even better – a separate granny flat. It’s light, lovely, spacious, with a combination of old-style charm and modern convenience. It is, in fact, our dream house. In a nice neighbourhood, albeit in the suburbs (close to work, but far from town).

But.

(You knew there would be a but, right?) It would mean continuing our current living situation, where my in-laws visit roughly every month, staying for up to a week at a time. Yeah. Let that sink in.

Because we own our current house with my husband’s parents, we were moving so that they could liquidate their cash, and make some provision for the next stage of their life (they are already retired, but moving towards old-age homes and so on). Individually (in other words as two separate couples), we can afford two small places, plus we want to keep their current house in Onrus – there’s no market for holiday homes, and it means more to us than it would be sold.

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I wrote that about a month ago. So much has happened in the interim, that it deserves a separate post. Suffice for now to say that, we’ve bought the house. Eek.

** Pics courtesy of my Instagram feed, and are really unrelated to anything (I have a new phone!)