You can use only those resources that you know you have.
Do you know what you have?
Is it clear to you what you have in your hands? Do you know what your strengths are? We have different things in our hands. For example, we have abilities, skills, attitudes, information, knowledge, know-how, experience, networks, personality, and many other things.
Have you ever really thought of what you have in your hands? If not, then now is the time to make this clear to you.
It is important to know what you have
It is really important to understand what our strengths and abilities are. Nothing is more frustrating and discouraging than trying to operate with your weaknesses and dislikes. And this can happen easily if you do not know where you are good and what your weaknesses are.
I know a person who worked as a trained nurse in hospitals. She worked in many hospital departments and had training in many different specialties during her 30 years of working life. However, just a few years before retiring, she had a long stress leave from her work. During that time, her peers and leaders advised her to retire early. During her working years, she changed jobs many times and tried to find a hospital department that she would enjoy working at. But wherever she went, the job seemed too stressful and too demanding, even though she had a very good training and the special know-how to do the job.
My final conclusion about her situation was that she did not really know what she had in her hands, and she was trying to do something she thought others and society would respect and appreciate. Working in a hospital with specialists is very demanding and busy. The nurse must have the ability to concentrate, work under stress, follow strict regulations, and do almost flawless work in such a workplace. This person was too sensitive and slow, a gentle person who wanted to help others and spend time with them, not just solve patients’ health problems quickly. For example, she could have been a good nurse in a nursing home where she could have given her time and care to the elderly. What she had in her hands did not fit into her real working life. So, it is important to know what you have in your hands. If this person had known earlier in her life what she really had in her hands, I am sure she would have been looking for a completely different type of nursing work, which would be better suited her personality and abilities.
To make most out of your life, it is good to operate with your strengths and abilities instead of trying to cope with your weaknesses or trying to do something without knowing how to do it. Focus on your strengths!
Without knowing your strengths and in what you are good at, it is difficult to systematically orient yourself in a direction where you can be sure that you are using your strengths. By using your strengths you will get the most out of your abilities. But do you know your abilities?
I once heard a story of a young man who travelled by ship from England to the United States in the early 20th century. He had bought a ticket and spent almost all of his money on it. So, he took food with him to survive the two-week voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
During the voyage, he met a man and became friends with him. This other man asked several times, “Would you like to have lunch with me?” He always got the same answer, “Thanks, but I will eat my own food in the cabin.” The reason for the answer a was lack of money, as this young man could not pay anything extra for the meals at the restaurant of the ship.
After a few days, the other gentleman began to be curious about the food that the young man ate in the cabin and wanted to know about it. Then finally, the young man said that the real reason he did not come to eat at the ship’s restaurant was the lack of money. “I spent all my money on the ticket, and I can’t afford to buy meals anymore,” he explained. This other man was surprised and said, “But dear friend, didn’t you know that your ticket includes two free meals a day throughout this voyage!”
The young man had in his hands something that he was not aware of. He had bought both food and meals, but he did not know it, and he did not realize what he had. Sometimes we can be like that young man and we do not understand what we have in our hands. We do not know what is available to us, what is included in “our package”.
Mr. Jouni Suonpää
The Founder and Chairman of NEBA
(North European Business Academy)