Here’s part nine of chapter three of my book, A Day of Hope.
IT TAKES TIME
Some of this is hypothetical. What I’ve shared with you in this chapter has been a best case scenario. There will be times when you have to do tasks that are outside of your strength zone. There will be times you have to ask people to do tasks that are outside of their strength zone too. Your job is to do the very best with the resources available to you.
This entire chapter is about striving to discover your strengths so you can successfully deploy them in order to contribute to A Day of Hope in the best way possible. I certainly haven’t reached that place yet in my own leadership of A Day of Hope, but I know I’m always improving in my ability to narrow down what I’m good at and my ability to only do work in those areas.
It takes a significant amount of time to discover and deploy your strengths. It took me years of work—and failure—to find my strengths. Failure is a key part of figuring out what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. Practice and thinking will also help you to discover your strengths. Practice is the part where you try lots of things, experiment, and fail. Thinking is what you do after you’ve “practiced” to evaluate what you’ve done and see what you’re truly good at. You need both. You can’t successfully discover your strengths without practicing and thinking daily.
Every successful person has discovered what her strengths are. If you know a successful person, ask her what her strengths are and how she found them. It was a great help to me to listen to successful leaders speak about their strengths and how they found them. Yes, you are your own individual person. Your strengths and talents are going to be very different than others are, but you’ll still be able to listen and learn from their stories. If you don’t know any leaders, just find someone who is great at what he does. Or go to the local library and read a biography about a past president, a successful businessman, a professional athlete, or anyone else who is known around the world for what they do and have done.
The important thing to note is that it’s going to take time to find your strengths, and you can’t just sit around waiting for them to be figured out without work from you. No one else is going to do it for you. The initiative lays in your hands.
The past few months, I’ve been learning to dance with my girlfriend. When we go out dancing there are always a lot of different dances I don’t know how to do. But when we dance, we dance most of them because the only way I’m going to learn which dances I like and don’t like is by trying different ones. I get out there, and we look goofy. I accidentally step on her feet, and we fumble through it all. When the evening is over we look back at the night and think about what dances we enjoyed and reflect on them. So jump out there, get going, start trying things, fail, succeed, evaluate it all after it’s done, and then try again.