“You are going to spend one-third of your life working. Make sure you are doing something you love.” – Harry Dietrich.
I am a firm believer in the power of playing to your strengths. This week I invite you to complete a simple exercise, building upon my post on discovering our strengths.
If you are a leader, I encourage you to share this post with your team and invite the whole team to participate. Consider sharing this with your team leader if you are an individual contributor. The exercise is most valuable if the entire team participates.
The exercise is straightforward. For the next week, keep a journal. Make a note each time you do something at work that you love doing. Those tasks that charge your batteries and fill you with energy. In particular, any task that gets you into a Flow state.
Similarly, make a note of each activity that you loathe doing. Those tasks you dread starting and leave you feeling drained. The tasks where you cannot wait for them to be over. Try to update your journal throughout the day, and take a few minutes at the end of the day to reflect and capture any other loves and loathes from the day.
At the end of the week, reflect upon your journal. What patterns do you see? Are there activities you loved doing that surprised you? Are there recurrent activities you loathed doing? Consider whether there are adjustments to your role that allow you to do more of what you love and less of what you loathe.
If your entire team participated, spend time as a team sharing what each team member loved and what they loathed. You may be surprised to learn that you have a teammate who loves doing something you loathe or vice versa. How can the two of you shift responsibilities to play to each other’s strengths?
Beyond tactical changes to your current role, ask yourself what your loves and loathes tell you about your career path. This is an excellent opportunity for a 1:1 discussion with your manager. Have you been pursuing a vertical promotion to the next level in your current role? Does that align with the activities you love most? Or is there a horizontal move that may be more fulfilling for you? When I led development teams, I saw developers make all kinds of horizontal moves to play to their strengths, including architects, product owners, user experience designers, business analysts, dev ops, and many more. I had developers move into management and flourish, and managers who realized they weren’t having any fun move back to development.
I invite you to return to this post at the end of the week and share what you learned about your loves and loathes. Schedule time with me if you would like a thought partner for exploring how to do more of what you love.
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