When It Counts

I’ve always been curious about my strengths and why they matter. Normally, though, I ponder this through the perspective of my professional life. In this part of my life I’m constantly measured and assessed. In my experience, the more aware I am of my strengths, the more I consciously lean on them to help me reach the necessary outcome.

One such strength I have is a high attention to detail. This strength has helped me succeed in my professional career in countless ways. Yet, it wasn’t until a recent experience in my personal life that I realized that my strengths don’t exist in silos.

My wife and I got our oldest daughter a new bike as an early birthday present. The bike came pre-assembled. Yet, when we arrived with it at home, I took the time to inspect the assembly. I found several screws that needed to be adjusted and tightened. I read through the manual to ensure it’d be set up to my daughter’s specifications.

Midway through this process, I became aware that I was utilizing my strength of attention to detail in a different context than what I normally view it in. What was curious about this is that I just did it. I didn’t stop to think about which strength had the most utility for the situation at hand.

I just did it without thinking about its utility. I realized that this strength isn’t something I utilize in one facet of my life, but it’s innate. It permeates beyond any individual identity.

This realization showed me that strengths aid us when we care about the task or outcome at hand. Our strengths help us when it counts.

The true realization, however, is that what counts doesn’t happen in one silo of life. Until we integrate our whole self, until we acknowledge we are defined by an amalgam of multiple identities, we won’t be able to apply the lessons from one domain or identity to another.

This is the true beauty of knowing yourself. It’s coming to see the multiple facets of your identity as complementary rather than individually. Like a symphony working in harmony to transcend, the whole becomes greater than its parts.

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