At 31 years old, my boss told me I was “too slow.”
I was in a new job with a steep learning curve and was preparing a trend analysis for our senior management. The data and insights I presented would be used to make decisions for a $500 million launch.
With that much money at stake, I took my time to observe, analyze, and reflect on possible outcomes before presenting my findings. I wanted to be sure the story told by the information was irrefutable and clear.
My boss was frustrated with me. Enough to call me into her office and tell me I was too slow for the pace of the team.
I carried that insult with me for over a decade.
Not only was I labeled “too slow,” I began to believe it, too.
Over the years, here’s what I did to overcome it:
- > Maniacally work “pro-actively” to always get a head start
- > Work afterhours or on weekends to avoid creating delays
- > Secretly evaluate every potential outcome so I wouldn’t be paralyzed with indecision
- > Fill every minute of downtime with something from my to-do list to remain productive
In summary, I exhausted myself.
I built a reputation for getting things done and getting it done accurately – mostly fueled by the anxious need to dispel the perception of being slow.
In my 40’s, I became a Gallup Strengths Leadership Coach.
Built on a philosophy that focuses on personal strength, Gallup Strengths gave me a clear understanding of my unique talents.
For the first time in my adult life, I realized how powerful my intellect, thoroughness, and thoughtful thinking are.
Learning about my natural ability gave me the language to describe myself and explain how I work best.
Today, I don’t create success by following someone else’s standards. That’s because I learned to succeed on a whole new level by simply being me.
Here are 5 questions to help you do the same:
1 What are characteristics that describe me?
(What are the words that family, colleagues, or friends use to describe you? i.e. intense, positive, encouraging, adventurous, etc.)
2 What is the role I play in others’ lives?
(Who are you known to be in your groups, community, workplace, or family? i.e. the joker, the planner, the peacekeeper, etc.)
3 When am I in my zone of genius?
(What environment or situation makes time pass quickly where you lose sight of everything around you? i.e. having conversations with others, analyzing information, connecting to nature, etc.)
4 How did I overcome a recent challenge?
(What are the critical things you did that helped create success?)
5 How can I turn these insights into action?
(How can you apply your personal strengths and traits to achieve an upcoming goal?)
Your strengths are your unique superpowers.
Don’t keep them buried by your anxious need to satisfy someone else’s expectation.
There is no such thing as weakness, just varying degrees of strength.
So, invest in your strengths. You won’t only increase your success, but you’ll increase your confidence and joy.
And, all you need to do is simply be you.