Today I stand as a 28-year-old man. I’m a husband, father, employee, leader, follower and among many other hats and identities, I’m a learner. This is a dangerous prose, because as a learner, it is really hard to declare to the world that I know anything, or any different. This is because I have learned so many times that I was wrong, that I have failed, or that I made mistakes. All the while, before the mind-opening changing experience, I wholeheartedly believed I was correct, right or infallible.
I know I have many strengths and weaknesses. In my office, we did a Strengths-Based Leadership conference, and I learned my top 5 strengths (after taking a rather intuitive survey) were:
The survey doesn’t break down your weaknesses or even list how the other 30 or so categories rank in your list, because the purpose of the exercise was to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
For those who know me, strategic should not be a surprise to anyone. Whether it’s doing chores, working in the office or playing video games, I’ve likely already thought through several scenarios to estimate the best course for action in order to be the most efficient possible.
This leads into my second strength, Learner. How many times did I think I was following the right plan and crash, due to something I didn’t see throwing me off course? Answer: many. I like to think that most of the time, I learn from those interactions and figure things out for the next time, such as when I have to figure out how to best carry in the most amount of groceries, in as few trips, without destroying anything (groceries, doors, walls, etc.).
Now, I could tell you more about my other strengths, but the point of this post is this: my strategic strength helps to form my learner strength, in that I am motivated to using my strategic strengths to continue to learn. For instance, while I have yet to learn how to create good habits such as closing drawers, picking up laundry, or five minutes before I’m ready to sleep, to pick up after myself – and while these are likely all things that Sara has probably lost a few hairs over through the last few years – I will always try to improve my habits and be more aware of the simple things that I can improve upon.
I can try to improve in all settings, from work to home. I can try to “clean up my act” at home. The point is this: I will always be focused and comfortable working to improve my strengths.
Part of being in a good relationship is being balanced out. Sara and I always used to joke that we had nothing in common, but I think the greatest trait we do have in common is our ability to focus on our strengths and overlook our own weaknesses as a well as each other’s shortcomings. For instance, while Sara is very organized and is passionate to a fault, she would be the first one to tell you that she struggles to embrace housekeeping duties, like doing dishes or cooking. Thankfully, she has me to pick up those tasks, which I don’t mind doing (most of the time).
Perhaps we drive each other crazy from time to time, but you won’t be surprised to hear that we blend our strengths together quite harmoniously. As we pick up each other’s weaknesses, we are allowed to focus more on our strengths. It makes for a successful family, even though it is trying at times.