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Creative Career Path

Moving from Strength2011.03.14

    Do you remember your childhood years, not simply where you lived or went to school, but how you felt and what you thought about? Do you remember your joys and your fears, and the vividness of life? You may not remember your age of innocence at 2 or 3, but if you reach back you can remember a remarkable number of things from your childhood years. Can you remember the child who was the person you have become today?


    If you search your early memories from your present perspective, you may recognize the early forms of things that were to come. Often the things you liked as a child were the things which turned into your talents over time.


    Unfortunately, parents and teachers don’t always recognize or encourage the development of inborn talents. Educational institutions are designed to remedy weak areas. Students are often forced to push uphill on subjects in which they are weak, rather than excel in areas where they are naturally strong. This leads straight to a job or career pushing a heavier load up a steeper slope, without the requisite strength for the task.


    Like King Sisyphus of Greek mythology, doomed to push a heavy boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down each time before it reaches the top, the task is both perpetual and futile.


    Peter Drucker said that, ”Most Americans do not know what their strengths are. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer."


    Marcus Buckingham, bestselling author and consultant, is a leader in what has become called the strengths revolution. In his former capacity as a senior researcher at the Gallup Organization, research found that only 12% of people play to their strengths in the workplace most of the time. Apparently, most people spend their time at work in compromise or frustration. His clients include Toyota, Coca-Cola, Master Foods, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, and Disney; and he has appeared on Oprah, Larry King Live, The Today Show, and Good Morning America; as well as in publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Harvard Business Review. He has obviously struck a deep chord on a perennial theme.


    Buckingham’s message is not new, echoing parts of Peter Drucker on strengths, Richard Nelson Bolles on your parachute, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow. His success stems in part from his emphasis on making changes in what you actually do to recover and develop your strengths, and the widening recognition that something is not quite right with the way we work.


    Ultimately your path of least resistance is found not in the external trappings of your job, but in how well it matches the way you were made. And this is something which you can uncover by going back to childhood memories, before you were saddled with the burden of having to measure up and work on your weaknesses. See if you can see yourself in miniature, the self that you were meant to be.


    It is not a matter of having a happy childhood. People have risen to greatness despite difficult beginnings. Often the determination to overcome a hardship turns into a strength in its own right. Follow the character development in any good movie or drama, and you will see the same story in many variations. People who find themselves unhappy or out of synch with themselves, following the wrong agenda, playing a minor part, and their struggle to get their life back the way it should be. Their story is our story in a different key.


    Think back to the days when you could pretend, when you could play for hours and dive right into things. Then think about what that then, can mean to you now.


    William Reed


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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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