Friday, November 19, 2004

Overusing your strengths can be a weakness

A co-worker and I rode together to a luncheon meeting yesterday. She is about 20 years older than me and has been a kind of role model/mentor for me in my current position. We are very similar personality-wise (we're both Ds and ENTJs). I was telling her about my taking the Kiersey test and trying to examine my personality weaknesses so I could work on them in the future.

She brought up an interesting point. She had taken the Kiersey test with a group of others working on a project once. Afterwards, they had a counselor-type come in and talk about how they could optimize their differences, etc. The point he made that stuck with her is that most people's problem is not knowing their weaknesses, it's overusing their strengths.

We all know our weaknesses - we may need to work on them more, but most of us at least know what they are. But we have a hard time saying No for requests for our known strengths.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I'm the "creative one" in all of the organizations I participate in. Need an idea? Need a concept or a design? Need a theme? Call Shawn. But this sometimes leaves me burnt out and depleted mentally. It requires so much brain power that it leaves me exhausted (but pleased if I solved a problem for someone).

So when examining our personal and professional lives, we may want to spend as much time ensuring that we are not relying solely on our known strengths as we often do trying to categorize and fix our weaknesses. We need to give ourselves room to figure out what our new strengths could be if we had enough time to explore!

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