What is the most important tool for advancement you’ll ever have at your disposal? Yourself.
Every one of us has innate strengths which make us unique, and uniquely qualified for what we do. Your best resources are the things that come naturally to you, because they’re already there, waiting to be accessed.
Many people undervalue their own abilities, either because they don’t know what they are or because they can’t see how to use them. Either way, they’re missing out: even the most mundane-seeming skills can, if applied properly, give you the edge you need to get your game plan on a roll – you just have to use them creatively. If you’re a tech junkie, why not start an e-mail or Blackberry marketing campaign to enhance your company’s visibility? If your friends call you “Betty Crocker” or “Mr. Maître d’”, could you put those hosting skills to work by moderating the next company meeting, or organizing this month’s event for your networking group? Explore what your career options are using your project management skills.
Personality traits can also be great assets, if you know how to apply them. When you consciously recognize your strengths and weaknesses, you can find ways to make every situation work for you. For example: If you’re a shy, introvert type, you’re probably scared to death of networking, and that’s okay. But instead of fading into a corner at your next event, why not put that brilliant memory of yours to work? Talk to just a few people, but give them all of your attention. While you’re conversing, file away a few bits of information about each person: when you see them again, you’ll have a ready store of conversation-starters, and they’ll feel valued. It’s all about having the right perspective.
Action Step: This week, write down at least three of your strongest traits. Be specific, and be honest. Are you solitary? Sociable? Are you a risk-taker, or are you more practical? Do you excel in project management or are you more of a conceptual, big picture strategist? Are you supremely organized, or do the little details drag you down? Are you a good public speaker? Are you brilliant at math? Regardless of whether these traits are related to your current job field, get them down on paper. These are the tools with which you work every day, even if you don’t realize it.
Now, take one of the traits you’ve written, and come up with a way to use it creatively as part of your game plan. Try to apply it to an area that’s been frustrating you – you may be surprised by what you come up with!