Playing to Your Strengths — The Winner’s Recipe
Let’s talk about work.
If you’re part of the majority, this might come across as a painful subject for you — considering 60% of UK employees and 70% of US employees are not happy in their current line of work.
But what we’re going to talk about should help you shift into the minority and begin loving what you do.
Remember that feeling of being completely out of your comfort zone?
Perhaps you felt nervous. Out of place.
The physical signs may have reared their ugly head too — sweaty palms, butterflies in your stomach, dry mouth. Remember those feelings?
Deep down inside us, we tend to avoid situations like that.
We like being in our comfort zone.
Although it’s very difficult to grow and improve as a person if you’re constantly stuck in your comfort zone — going to an extreme can also be detrimental.
If you’re completely uncomfortable in a situation, sure you will probably improve and get better in that situation by being exposed to it over time. But that doesn’t mean you’ll ever enjoy it.
Now, before we get stuck into this, let me make something very clear: I’m not advocating staying close to your comfort zone. And I’m definitely not advocating quitting something as soon as it feels TOO uncomfortable.
We still have to persist to an extent and challenge ourselves. But that’s a whole different subject.
I’m purely talking about the recipe for winning in your workplace.
You see, the majority of us seem to fall into the same path — regardless of our industry, company or career.
There’s a traditional role that we’re all meant to strive to achieve in the workplace…
The role of the leader. The ‘boss’.
We become so focused on working harder to gain a promotion. To ascend a bit higher in the company hierarchy. To become a manager of people. To become a figure of authority.
But that role just isn’t right for everyone.
And while you’re ultimately striving to achieve a role that doesn’t suit your personality and skills — you’re going to stay unhappy in your job.
Instead, we need to adopt a winning recipe for success.
In his book “Winners” Alastair Campbell breaks down the ingredients of a winner. Having dissected the success of many of our modern day achievers. People like Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Floyd Mayweather, Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela.
In this phenomenal book, Campbell also talks about the construction of a winning team.
Even if we work individually in our companies, we are still part of a team overall. So understanding how a successful team operates is the first step in understanding how we can individually succeed within one.
Remember playing sports at school, when two captains would choose their teammates?
“I choose Brian.”
“I choose Sam.”
“I choose Jen.”
“I choose Charlie.”
(Inevitably, everyone seems to remember being picked last!)
Children will always pick either their friends or the most talented players.
This is not necessarily the recipe for a winning team.
A successful team is not made up of star players. It’s made up of the players who each have an important role and stick to it. They don’t all try to become the star player, they just try to become the strongest person possible in their specific role.
Let that sink in for a second.
They try to become the strongest person possible in their specific role.
Do we all need to be the influencer?
Do we need to be the star salesman?
Sure, they might get most of the limelight. But within the team, people also respect other key roles.
What about the organiser and the timekeeper? The dependable person that makes sure everything runs to plan — so clients are kept happy and the team operates as one single unit.
That’s an important role.
Some people are absolutely suited to that role more than others.
What about the execution lady? Sure, she might not come up with the innovative ideas — but if you tell her what needs to be done, hell, she will find a way by hook or by crook to get that done!
And how about the details guy? He might not be able to come up with big picture strategy, but if you put him in front of a spreadsheet, he can always find where excessive spending in needless areas is going to stop the team moving forwards.
OK, perhaps not the most exciting examples!
But I think the point is clear.
We need to identify our role within a team. To identify how our unique strengths will support the team in a way that is absolutely irreplaceable — and then put EVERYTHING into that.
It’s time to be self-reflective and honest.
You wouldn’t put a sheepdog in a greyhound race, or a greyhound in a sheep-herding competition. It would be ridiculous.
So let’s not throw ourselves into an incompatible role either!
Play to your strengths — for happiness and success.
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