focus on your strengths

Everyone seems to be all about winking these days. My colleague at work is constantly practicing, and again today my other friend over a hockey game. Perhaps only now a few of us are at that stage in life where we are finally realizing how hard it is to make winking discreet. I know - and have witnessed - that I'm not the only one who can't wink. It's really not my finest look either.

Sitting on our bar stools, Doug and I were trying to figure out who was worse at winking. The Chicago Blackhawks were clearly not going to win this one, but over here I WAS winning. He finally told me his friend is such a terrible winker, she just turns her head to the side and just blinks. Gotta admit, it gets the job done. It's a pretty fail-proof strategy. 

No one knows what the person on the right sees.

No one knows what the person on the right sees.

Even though I work at one of the most highly reputable tech companies, it wasn't until my eighth manager (and after five years of being employed) who offered one of the most insightful pieces of advice. Constantly feeling less technical and in general just behind relative to my peers, one day he told me to "focus on your strengths".

Immersed in an environment where everyone around me seems to be doing something more impactful and amazing, I often get stuck in the loop of feeling like I need to be better, or want to be better. Constantly looking for feedback and "areas of development", we often forget and appreciate what we are good at. What we excel at. 

That advice stayed with me, and I've stopped stressing out about how can't build data discrepancy tools or dashboards. Maybe I can't build a mobile app or debug a mobile app install issue using Charles. What I am good at is being able to distinguish what I can and cannot do, and being able to tell someone that I don't know know to do something. However, if I don't know how to do something, I better know who does. Thats what teams are for, and how or why teams are successful. 

I didn't tell my manager this, but I did wonder if this could be considered "quitting". Or maybe quit while you're ahead. Maybe it's more about figuring out where to put your chips so that you have the highest probability of the greatest return. If you're good at something, or genuinely interested in something, the rate at which you get better at it will naturally be higher. Sounds like a Catch 22.

So here's to worrying less about what we can't do, and to focusing more time and energy on what we can do.


the failure of failure

magical light-up-tumbleweeds

magical light-up-tumbleweeds