Playing to strengths

Published May 12 2020

A hand-drawn diagram: A circle at the top that says “Wow, that was so hard. I was so bad” inside it. Under, there are two circles on either side: purple on the left, green on the right. Inside the purple circle, it says “I never want to do that again;” inside the green, “I want to get better.” There’s a purple arrow pointing to the purple circle labeled “Bad challenges” and a green arrow pointing to the green circle labeled “Good challenges.”

I was talking with my manager Jess about ~ professional development ~ last week, and she said a thoughtprovoking thing which was: What if we tailored prodev to play to our unique strengths, as opposed to our gaps? I said that for both situations, it starts with “Wow, that was so hard, I was so bad” — but the difference was the next thought: “I want to get better” vs “I never want to do that again.”

Which led me to think about Jess Harllee’s Last Lecture about good challenges vs bad challenges, and if it’s possible to know the difference between the two going in. I’m not sure if my conversation with First Jess answered this, but I feel like it was at least a step in the right direction of actively seeking out the good kind of challenge.

I took a CliftonStrengths test btw (this was how this whole convo started). It said my top strengths were:

  1. Responsibility
  2. Connectedness
  3. Learner
  4. Individualization
  5. Consistency

Some years ago I had also taken a … StrengthsFinder test which I guess is similar??? I still have those results on a bunch of stickies in a scrapbook:

  1. Consistency
  2. Responsibility
  3. Harmony
  4. Learner
  5. Restorative

The whole UI around the CliftonStrengths fka StrengthsFinder2.0 assessment website is so cagey and paywall-y and I super don’t like that. But personality assessments are fun.

Also … I have a feeling that this connection that I just discovered for myself was drawn by maybe BOTH Jesses long before today.