on this episode

We’ve been on this career journey with you for over a decade, and one thing we’ve learned is that you’re passionate about working in your strengths. But, let’s face it, turning this idea into a reality can be a bit tricky.

So what are Signature Strengths, and how do they differ from what you already know about strengths? And how do you use that information to thrive in your career?

We’ve got the answers.

In this episode, we’ll walk through specific stories to show you the magic of signature strengths. Like how Maggie strategically used her strengths to leap from one promotion to another, or how a studio executive found his true strengths after leaving a VP role.

Consider this your personal guide to understanding and using your strengths to not just land a job but to revel in the challenges and enjoy the journey. Let’s unravel the mystery of Signature Strengths together!

What you’ll learn

  • Actionable steps to identify your signature strengths right away
  • How to to use your strengths not just to secure a job but to genuinely enjoy the challenges in your role
  • How to translate strengths into hireable traits

Success Stories

“It’s hard to find something that fits, that’s why so many people change careers. When I finally understood my strengths and how I could apply them it all made sense. It just made it easier to see what types of jobs and roles would fit me. In my new career I get to do the marketing that I love with a company I’m excited about.”

Kirby Verceles, Sales & Marketing Director

All the stars aligned and I ended up finding the right thing at the right place at the right time, and it was you guys! Everything that you said was speaking to me and the things that you had done in the job that you had transitioned out of and into. Also how finding work that you love is your passion for people! Honestly, it was you Scott, I mean, the way that you talked about it, how passionate you were, I was like, there's no way he's gonna put out a faulty product. So I'm gonna try it, you know… I recommend you to all my friends, you know, even if they don't realize that they're looking for a new job, I'm like this is the first step, let's do this! Even if you maybe don't move out of this career. This is going to help!

Maggie Romanovich, Director of Learning and Development, United States/Canada

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:01

Okay, what are signature strengths? Well, they're the truest representation of you and most essential to who you are. They're the combination of your innate talents and how they have developed over time based on your environment and your experiences. They're the most foundational pieces of how you operate and how you behave. Okay, great, but how does that help you?

Introduction 00:28

This is the Happen To Your Career podcast with Scott Anthony Barlow. We hope you stop doing work that doesn't fit you. Figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that is unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you feel like you were meant for more, and you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:58

From the last decade of helping you with your career, we've learned that you get pretty excited. And many of our listeners get really excited about the idea of doing work and your strengths. We've also learned that this idea of doing work that you can't help but do anyway is super sexy, but really difficult to do in reality. This leads to a lot of questions about strengths, and particularly what we call signature strengths. What's the difference? How do I translate my strengths into hireable traits? What the heck are strengths anyway? How would I use them in an interview? But far and away, the most common question that we get is, "How do I use my strengths to get hired?" In other words, how do I turn this fun idea about my strengths into something that tangibly earns me a freaking phenomenal income? And when I show up to that role, I actually enjoy the challenges that I get to work through. Well, I'm so glad you asked. In this episode, we're going to cover, quite a bit actually, what signature strengths are, and how they differ from what you already think that you know about strengths. We'll cover a story of how one woman used her strengths strategically and how she used them, actually, to make her career change. And how a studio executive who didn't fully recognize his strengths until he actually left a VP role that was no longer good for him. And then what that ended up meeting for him and how that translated into an even better role. And then a mom who was working in communications and marketing, how that allowed her strengths to guide her to a career change. And then for not one, not two, not three, but four, back-to-back promotions. All of these stories are coming from how our clients use their strengths to get a job so that then they could use their strengths at that opportunity. Okay, there's a lot of subtlety there. We're going to cover that. But we're going to, in order to help you understand the truth behind strengths if you will, we're gonna have to cover some of the misconceptions about strengths, including the strengths and the phenomenon, the challenges surrounding strengths prioritization, and I'll give you several ways that you can specifically begin identifying your signature strengths now. Not tomorrow, but now.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:16

Okay. So in 2016, I decided I was going to read all the books on human happiness that I could absolutely find anyplace. So several years and about roughly 50 books later, I realized two things. Well, happiness, if you have happiness as a goal, that is fleeting. It's a moving target. Now, the second is the meaning, the idea of meaning, or in this case, meaningful work is actually usually a better goal, and one that strangely brings more happiness more often. But here's why I'm telling you about this. If you read enough books on happiness, you eventually realize that many of them riff off of Martin Seligman's groundbreaking work in positive psychology. And as you delve further into his research, you'll learn that strengths are one of the major determinants of whether or not you're going to experience meaning, and particularly fulfillment on a regular basis. Now, the real question, by the way, I also learned that Seligman had coined the term signature strengths. I'd heard this term before from my days working in HR leadership at Target and some other places. But I didn't realize that it came from Martin Seligman and he defined signature strengths as those character strengths that are most essential to who we are. Now in my observation, that phrase, essential to who we are, is absurdly on point. But aside from that, like, what's the big deal with signature strengths anyways? Well, here's how I want to help you understand that. Gallup, I've mentioned Gallup numerous times because Gallup does a great job with research– both in strengths, as well as work and wellness, and quite a few other areas across the globe. Now, we've also had members of the Gallup team on the podcast in the past, Jim Harder is one of my favorites. Yeah, I loved that conversation with Jim. And hopefully, I'll get to meet him in person coming up here next time I'm in Omaha. But I want to share that, if you haven't heard of Gallup when you visit their website, they say they help organizations solve their most pressing problems. And although this is a pretty big claim, Gallup is in a unique position to achieve this mission because they have over 35 million respondents in their database. That's a lot of data, right? And the company's research consistently shows that having an opportunity to use strengths regularly matters. Here's just a small sample of the findings. You gain a positive emotional boost while using your strengths. Or the more you use your strengths in a day, the less likely you are to feel stressed, worried, angry, or even sad. When you use your strengths regularly, you're more likely to have positive emotions regularly. Okay, now, maybe these won't come as a surprise. But when you pair these findings with Seligman's definition of signature strengths, those things that are essential to who we are, you are most likely to be the happiest when you get to be yourself or when you're at your best. Okay, so what if you could spend all day working on your strengths? Think about that for a second wave. You could optimize your entire life for your strengths. How enjoyable would it be? Would you be laughing hysterically or joyful all the time? You know, the cool thing is Gallup actually has us covered there, too. The research has found that those who report experiencing happiness, enjoyment, smiling or even laughing a lot use their strengths more often than those who don't. Maybe also not a surprise. But here's the question I have, how much more is it really, like, how much more? What's the smallest change that you can make to see these different results? Gallup found that using your strengths in as little as just one to two more hours per day buys you the ticket to feeling like you're on the career happiness joy ride. And from the results that we've seen with our clients, it's more like buying a fastpass at Disney World. And conversely, at HTYC, we've seen the opposite. When you stop working on your strengths for even as little as six months, this can have a devastating psychological impact that erodes your confidence. Research, and the experiences of all our clients all over the world, it shows that you can actually get results pretty quickly when you regularly start connecting with and using what we call your signature strengths. So as you start working more and more on those signature strengths, you see a compounding effect.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:57

Let me tell you about Maggie. When I met Maggie, she was working in communications at the time. And she said she felt stuck. Actually, what she told me at that particular time was that she was just, how did she say it, she said, "I don't know exactly what I want to do. But I'm so over this." And so she knew she wanted to be doing something different. She didn't know what. And as she started exploring what she could do next, she really began leaning into areas that came more naturally. Now pay attention to that, because that's going to come up again a little bit later on. So she ended up creating a presentation for a training program, a project that was fun and relatively easy for her compared to other people. And we'll talk about that here in a minute, too. She noted this as a piece of evidence in her exploration. And pretty soon, she realized that she was particularly well suited for Training and Development. Fast forward a few months, Maggie was working within her existing organization to make a shift in training. But this is where it gets really interesting because 16 months later, I received a message from Maggie, she had been promoted. And when I spoke to her again, just 18 months after that, Maggie, yeah, getting promoted again. Each time she was getting that title increase, she was getting a pay increase. More importantly than all of that, in my opinion, she was enjoying this experience. Okay, here's what was happening. Each time she found new ways to use her signature strengths, she got more joy out of the work that she was doing. She was contributing more, and becoming that person who people view as a high performer and want to be around. This led to additional promotions that pushed her deeper into her strengths. By exploring and focusing on her signature strengths, Maggie was led to, not just one, but all of those executive-level roles, and she's actively enjoyed.

Maggie Romanovich 09:49

One of the things that has been very eye-opening to me since going through my career change was that I have strengths that I've always viewed as, like, weird quirks, but they work really well in the job I'm at. You know, my former team leader called it Maggie magic. And I was like, "Oh, I think he will mock something there." Like, I've been able to leverage those strengths to make other people feel good about where they're at and feel more connected to each other.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:19

Now, Maggie's voice sounds familiar. There's a reason for that. It's because we shared her story on an episode of the Happen To Your Career podcast. And we'll link that up in the notes as well. But let's go ahead and break down what was happening in Maggie's story. Let's get deeper than what we told on that podcast. When she was initially exploring, she realized that she wasn't getting to be the truest version of herself. The way that she noticed this was she observed that other people around her were really into the work. They were nerding out on all the communications and the marketing pieces. And they couldn't help thinking about and talking about these relentlessly. And so she has this going on around her. And she's like, "Yeah, I don't feel that same way." Okay, so she's noticing this, she's observing it. Next, she began to explore. She realized that she loved making and giving presentations and training. We just mentioned that a minute ago, right? But keep in mind that at first, she was only doing this in small doses, very small doses. But she found it was easy for. She found that she was enjoying it. Now fast forward those seven years, and we talked about Maggie makes career change. She gets promoted, you know, four times counting the career change where she has been working in areas of her strengths, and her performances significantly better because of how aligned her roles are with her strengths. What does she do? Well, she initially went into Training and Development to support sales teams, then was promoted to higher and higher ranks of Training, Learning, and Development leadership. So here's a pop quiz for you. What are my key strengths, really? Are they giving presentations? Are they creating PowerPoints and training others? Like, are those Maggie's strengths? Are they not? Are they not Maggie's actual strengths? To answer this question, I think it's pretty important to know what strengths are and aren't. Doesn't to be helpful information right about now. Okay. Well, we mentioned Gallup defined strengths in the past, we've talked about that a lot over the years, as what makes you talented and unique. And then we already mentioned Martin Seligman's definition earlier of signature strengths. But for our purposes, I want you to begin to think about strengths as, "what lies underneath the surface?" And this is often several layers deep. Okay, here's how I want you to think about this. Think about it as being similar to an iceberg. I know, there's a lot of iceberg analogies out there. But it works really well for this. Above the surface of the water, you see the visible or tangible outputs of those strengths. Maybe you're highly skilled at Excel, and things like pivot tables, they just come easy to you and other people are like, "Oh my goodness, I can't even do a pivot table." And maybe it comes really easy for you to keep your office tidy and organized. Or maybe you just have the ability to talk to anyone. We're gonna talk about Angie a little bit later on, and she sort of has that ability too. Those skills, abilities, and knowledge are like that iceberg. Above the water, you can easily see the spreadsheet, the tidy office, and the person having a great conversation. But below the water, underneath the surface, it's the things that are propping up that are causing it to be visible. The much larger part of the iceberg that's underwater represents the pieces that we're most interested in here. It's these pieces that are difficult to see, and there the real reason why strengths can be such a difficult concept. So in Maggie's case, she makes and gives great presentations and trainings. Right? Okay, tip of the iceberg. You go through them and you think, "Just wow! These are really great." But what you visually see is a PowerPoint training materials and her facilitating the training. What you feel and experience though, is that you're learning and engaged. And it seems as though Maggie is a master at allowing you to get the skills and knowledge you need for your job, like, nothing you've ever seen before. It appears she's having fun, and you're having fun at her training. And that's what we witness above the water. So now, that's great. But strengths are not to be confused with skills. They're not to be confused with those other things that we can tangibly see. It's what's below the surface that are many contributing reasons to why Maggie is so amazing at all of those pieces that we can see. Training and facilitating training just happens to suit how Maggie thinks. And it happens to suit her communication tendencies. You might remember that her boss calls these Maggie magic. Now what we didn't go into in her episode, and you'd only know from working with Maggie is that she's at her best when she gets to solve problems that involve developing and connecting with other people, communicating in really quirky ways to capture attention of whoever she's talking to, and translating concepts and unique ways. Why? Well, this caters exactly to make these combination of nature and nurture. The way that her mind works is she thinks, she acts her behaviors are, her tendencies are in the same way that she trains. So she can just do it. Meaning, it's how she's wired naturally. But also, she has a background working in communications and other places. So she's picked up plenty there and incorporated it into how she operates. She's even married to a teacher. So these are just, you know, tiny bits and parts and examples that add up to allowing Maggie to just simply operate, how she operates. Have you ever heard the saying, "how you do anything is how you do everything?" Well, I think that that idea can apply to signature strengths.

Maggie Romanovich 16:19

Those are little things that are gonna make a big difference in that space, and being able to figure out who I am and what's important to me. You know, the way I raised my kids, like, what are we focusing on here? The way that my husband and I spend our time and our money. You know, like, let's stop doing things we don't find value and feel obligated to do, and there's some obligations you have to do. But the same thing applies for work and in your personal life, you know, the more you can seek out opportunities that really demonstrate your strengths, the stronger your performance is going to be.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:47

If you think about signature strengths as operating as the truest representation of yourself, then that means the goal can be reframed as finding the environments, the roles, and the situations that require the least amount of translation from who you are to how you get to do or how you get to be. Here's another interesting fact. I mentioned earlier, Maggie didn't even change organizations when she made the big career change from communications to learning, development, and training. Same company, but a better alignment in her day-to-day with who she actually was. So then how did Maggie use her strengths to get to a role where she then got to use her strengths? This is actually another part we didn't go deep into in Maggie's episode, or even when we mentioned Maggie's story in the Happen To Your Career book. Here's what she did. She allowed her strength to guide her career experiments.

Maggie Romanovich 17:48

One of the things that we did was StrengthsFinders. And so the StrengthFinders that I discovered at Happen To Your Career, the StrengthsFinders that I have in here, and like the idea of if I can amplify those strengths, rather than trying to accommodate the things that I'm not as strong in, it's going to make a bigger difference for me to amplify my strengths than to try to make up ground for things that aren't as strong for me. And so it's less of a struggle to be in my function. And it's less of a struggle to function because I'm doing things that I'm naturally drawn to, as opposed to things I'm trying to force myself into. Like to me, like, that's the whole idea of "happening to your career", rather than falling into a role because you're in the right place at the right time. You have discovered what place and what time you want to be in, and then those opportunities surface themselves to you because you're searching in a different way.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:40

Much the same way, when you use a compass to guide you every time the compass is pointed north, that's where Maggie would continue to travel. It became very similar to making a road trip on foot. She knew originally that she wanted to make a career change, but had no idea of the direction. So she began her progress over a few months. She tried a few extra projects, some of them didn't work out. But one thing she tried, as we mentioned earlier, was making the PowerPoints for someone else's training. And as we also mentioned, she loved this, it was easy for her. Now, as a coach, if I'm helping someone hone in on their strengths, I don't think we've ever talked about this anyplace else, but what I'm doing is I'm looking for oddities. I'm looking for something that is unusual. I'm looking for something that is not normal. I'm looking for something that is extraordinary, and meaning “extra-ordinary”, not ordinary. Making PowerPoints or training materials is something that most people find tedious, or at least they're not that excited about. Also, when people first do something like this, they usually put out a mediocre attempt. This was exactly the opposite for Maggie. She was getting great feedback and it was fun and it was easy for her. And remember, though, much like the iceberg, it wasn't about the PowerPoint itself, it was about uncovering what was happening below the surface that made it this feel, we'll say, feeling this way to her, but also to others, and made it valuable to others at the same time, right? Okay, so she followed her strengths compass north to try more of this work. This led to multiple conversations with her boss, a variety of other projects that allowed her to dive deeper into her strengths. And when a role came open for Training and Development with the sales team, well, she'd already validated that this was something that she was interested in, and already connected with the people who were more responsible for that area or were in charge of that area. And she'd already built relationships with them. So even though she technically didn't have any significant learning and development experience, at least from a resume perspective, her new boss was already familiar with her background, her skills, and her experience, and more than willing to take a chance on her. Pretty cool, right? Okay. So that's part of what she meant when she said and talked about being able to allow her strengths to dictate a more intentional career change, which she called happening to her career. But what would have happened? What would have happened if Maggie didn't let her strengths lead her in the direction for career experiments, and ultimately, her career change? Well, this actually happens a lot. Way too much, I would say.

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:33

Many of you know that we use a tool behind the scenes that's called the Clifton Strengths Assessment, used to be called StrengthsFinder, used to be called StrengthsFinder 2.0. It's changed over the years in terms of the name, but the assessment is still similar. It's a pretty comprehensive assessment. It uses 34 strengths themes, then ranks them, it rank orders them for your personal situation. And now I'll tell you, I've taken literally hundreds of assessments over the last 25 plus years. And I love this one because it has built-in redundancy, which means that you're much less likely to gain the assessment, whether you're intentionally trying to do that, or whether it accidentally happens. Anyhow, regardless of how you're feeling day to day, you're much more likely in this assessment to get a true to you result, although no single assessment is perfect. The reason that we use this one, this particular tool on a regular basis, is because it provides what I call starter language. So starter language is important for beginning to understand your strengths at a much, much deeper level. Now, you might have heard this strategy in other areas, too, you might have heard that when you're talking about mastery in a given area when you're talking about training and development, when you're talking about building a culture, there's a lot of places where language, or the strategy of a tab beginning to attach language so that we have a foundation from which to talk about that area and how to think about it. So, therefore, then we can build on it. It's pretty common and pretty effective strategy. And this is true with strengths as well. The assessment provides that starter language. Now a fun fact behind the scenes before we use Clifton Strengths Assessment, we used to build that language and the understanding of what that language could be. We used to do that with our clients over five to seven coaching sessions. No joke. This assessment is a pretty cool tool. It's a gem. Because it replaces all that time and cost by providing the language in about 40 minutes. Pretty cool, right? Okay. But here's what happens. There's often this period where clients get the strength results back, and then they look at it and say, "Yep, okay. Those are correct. That's me. I'm honestly not sure how it knows me so well." But how exactly do these strengths help me? That is when we, as coaches, know that we've reached the sometimes unhappy gap between knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge. What do I mean by that? Well, let me give you an example. My middle son was about eight years old, and I was trying to teach him to do a backflip on our trampoline, and he told me at the time, he said, "Dad, I already know how to do a backflip. I've seen it on YouTube", and he was correct. He did theoretically know how to do a backflip. But when I said "Okay, all right. You know how to do this. Go ahead and do a backflip." He couldn't do it. He wasn't yet able to apply that knowledge. It's very different now, like, fast forward to present day. He's done thousands of backflips and even 360 backflips. And he's taught the entire neighborhood how to do their own backflips on our trampoline. But it illustrates this important point that knowledge and the application of that knowledge are two completely separate events. Prior to the ability to apply the knowledge of strengths, several issues almost immediately popped up. One in particular is what we call strengths envy. Here's how it shows up. I mentioned just a moment ago that people look at their strengths and are like, "Okay, yep, definitely right. That's me." But not only how does that help, they often are thinking that they're reading their strengths, and they're thinking, "Okay, well, that's great. But like, how does that translate into something that is a useful to get hired?" And what we find is that people are thinking about those strengths, and they don't consider them valuable. They read through it, and they're like, "Okay, well, so great. I have, you know, achiever strength. But how does taking immediate satisfaction and being busy and productive actually help me?" And even though the achiever theme helps explain their drive, because achievers have a constant need for attainment, you feel as though this isn't that valuable. Okay, well, why does that happen? Why does this reading through beginning to understand your strengths and then immediately feeling like, "wow, these are not that valuable."? Why does that happen? Well, it turns out that if we're continuing along with that definition, that strengths are the truest sense of us, it's what's most ingrained in us. So our tendency, and our bias is to think that if I can do this, and I can do this well, that everyone can do this. And if everyone can do this, therefore, it's not that valuable. And then what causes this envy type of phenomenon where people are hoping for something that is new or different. But strengths are actually familiar. Some people have described them when they really understand them well, and when they get to operate in them is sort of this feeling of coming home. And that familiarity is definitely a double-edged sword. It helps, and it hurts at the same time. So way to think about this whole idea of strengths envy is, if you're experiencing that, if you are reading through your initial language for your strengths, and you're like, "Oh my goodness, like, this is not something that is all that valuable." That's normal. But at the same time, it also is exactly what most people experience, and what most people don't realize is that even though it feels like it's not that valuable to you, everyone else has a different set of strengths. So this is part of what makes you unique. All right, so we see this happen over and over again. And it's just part of the curve. So if you've experienced this already, then that's great. If you haven't, it's probably coming in some fashion or another.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:04

One of the other things to point out, though, is that there's this tendency for us to undervalue our strengths that's more than just strengths envy. And this happens partially when we don't realize that our strengths are causing us to be successful if we don't have a full understanding about why we have been successful in a particular area as we look in the past. Let me give you an example here. Michael was an executive at a studio you've definitely heard of. Michael had gotten himself a job in the entertainment industry almost on a whim. And he'd never left. He just loved the studio aura, in many different ways, for a long time. He loved accounting and finance. He enjoyed the feeling of harmony he got from putting things in order, keeping things in balance, and his roles had become progressively better and better each time he got promoted until they weren't. So sometimes, you don't realize how your strengths show up until you remove yourself from using them. And that's what ended up happening to Michael. Michael had his boss come to him and said, "Hey, we've got this situation. And we think that you're exactly the person for the job." So he got promoted again, yet again, into another situation. Now, this was different because each of those past situations, he was getting to dive deeper in his strengths. But he didn't know that's what was going on. He just knew that it felt better and better. He was also getting to experience growth in a really positive way for him. And then with a new situation, he was thrown into a new role that on paper, should have been using many of his similar experiences in the past. In reality, it was very, very different from that and it pulled him out of using his strengths day to day. This became a terrible situation for Michael. Terrible in the fact that he was seeing a physical degrade in his health to the point where he lost 20 pounds, he was very, very worried he felt very much like a fish out of water all the time. So definitely taken a toll on him for sure. What he didn't realize was going on at the time. And only later on when he started really learning about strengths is that he had not only been pulled out of it, he was getting to rarely get him to spend any time working on his strengths in a given day. And the few times that that happened were counteracted, over counteracted, I would say, by the other times where he was not where he's asked to operate the whole rest of the day outside of his strengths. Okay, now fast forward quite a bit. Part of the way that Michael was able to get clarity on this was by leaving that organization. Now, what I'm not saying is that everyone needs to leave their organization in order to get clarity on their strengths. I'm pointing that out for two different reasons. Reason number one is sometimes you can intentionally remove yourself from a situation for a short period of time in order to generate clarity or generate new discoveries in one way or another. So for Michael, that looked like leaving his organization completely and then working a variety of different roles. And he did many, many different things. After that, he did everything from test driving cars for organizations responsible for test driving new vehicles, all the way to working in different aspects of like consulting and finance, all the way to many, many other things. So he launched headfirst into his experiments to begin to discover what resonated, what didn't resonate. And then that helped him get clarity on his strengths. Okay, again, this is not right for everyone. You have to go with where you're at. But what you can do is a much, much smaller version of that. You can design a way to systematically test where you're getting to use your strengths. A couple examples from this, that you can apply almost immediately. Something we did in the past with a client was we helped them take a two week long vacation. And during that vacation, we helped them intentionally layer in different types of activities. And those activities, many of them were new, forced them to realize where they were using their strengths and where they were not. And here's the second strategy that anybody can use too, whether or not you're combining it with a vacation, they kept a journal where they would just go back after each activity, and then tried to decipher for that particular day, at that particular time, what were the areas that they got to use their strengths? And what were the areas that came easier? What were the areas that they enjoyed? And then ultimately, as they would look back over a period of several weeks, they could start to pull together what were some of the themes, what were some of the constants. What were the things that showed up again and again? What were the patterns? And that's often what we're looking for when we're talking about strengths. We're trying to observe and piece together what are the patterns. Much the same way that you might with any other type of experiment. Okay, now, we've applied that type of strategy into an entire sabbatical that might last a year to a three-week, month-long vacation. There's a lot of different ways that you can do it. You can even do it over, you know, a really long weekend. What we found works is combining that with new experiences, new experiences force you to evaluate and look through a different lens than you normally would, which helps accelerate the learning process for understanding what actually matters about you and your strengths. Okay, so you can benefit from that knowledge. Here's another super easy thing that you can do that leverages the strategy that Michael had used. Another way that you can remove yourself temporarily is by even taking on a different type of project at work, or working out a temporary way you're going to step into another role for a period of time, or removing some of the pieces that don't feel as great, just temporarily. Now often this can be a series of conversations with your boss or your team. And when we talk about it from a temporary fashion, sometimes as little as a couple of days to even a couple of weeks, then you can still produce some of those same types of learnings. Now it's most ideal if you get thrust into another area that is new, but not really wiring such extensive experience or such extensive learning that it is highly, highly stressful. So be careful with that cautious of that. This is what I would say would be an advanced-level experiment. If you're unsure on this, then you can always get help from a coach, get help from a mentor. Obviously, this is something that we do as well, and we help with every single day. But I would encourage you to explore different ways that you can temporarily remove out what you're experiencing in your day-to-day work so that you can then buy yourself some space and bandwidth, and then leverage that as its own little experiment.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:45

Okay, I want to give you another completely different example of how someone utilize their strengths to be able to, not only find a role that really fit them but then get to continue to do work that fit them incredibly. I want you to meet Angie. Angie is someone we worked with as a client, and she can't help but meet people and be having conversations. It's just what she does. You might say, "well, I know someone like that." But it's probably more than that. The ease of which she will introduce herself or talk to anyone is only surpassed by her excitement while she's doing it. Now this is evident if you're one of those people she meets and talks to. She's going to make you her friend almost instantly. She just puts you at ease, like, you're supposed to be wherever she is. Now, here's a bit of an odd fact, behind the scenes. Angie is actually from Moses, Lake Washington. The small town where I live with my family. And this is weird because we work with people all over the world and almost never with people from my tiny hometown. But although Angie had recently relocated away from Moses Lake to a new nearby town, when she came through to visit, we got to meet up for coffee. What I'll tell you is that 10 minutes in, it was apparent to Angie's strengths, and almost all of her tendencies were in building relationships. So what does this mean? When we think about strategy to be able to find opportunities that actually are an amazing fit for your strengths, and more importantly, leveraging your strengths to do that, Angie's a great example. Because it meant that she was most comfortable and at her best when she was face-to-face with other people. And that, of course, meant that we had to get her in as many face-to-face situations with people who could help her or hire her as possible. So we incorporated this idea into her experiment. So instead of consistently sending emails or doing lots and lots and lots of writing, then it was very focused on how does she connects with people and quickly gets to that face-to-face element in one way or another. And it wasn't just about she made the best impression. Consequently, her tendencies, since they were so suited to face-to-face also gave an indication that this is where she benefited the most, this is where she got the most learning. She was able to quickly decide whether or not something might be fit, whether or not something could be a part of her ideal as she went through her experimentation. So here's what happened. She got into a variety of different conversations, even the interviews, actually interviews, as you might imagine, since she's great at building relationships, did pretty well in interviews. So the goal there was to, instead of trying to do things a certain way, which if you've heard us talk about different types of career experiments or different strategies for moving into new opportunities, then, you know, there's a lot of them out there. And almost all of them did not suit Angie the best. The ones that suited her the best were the ones that could quickly get her into those face-to-face experiences. So she could make an impression people could quickly get to know her, people could quickly decide they wanted to take a chance on her, and she could, even more importantly than what they were deciding, she could decide, is this an area? Is this an organization? Is this a set of people that I want to work with? Pretty cool, right?

Scott Anthony Barlow 39:24

Okay. Now, before we end this episode here, I want to share a couple of quick things. I want you to think about one question in particular. So I want you to think about where you gravitate towards on a regular basis. And what I mean by gravitate towards, think about those areas of your past jobs, roles, situations that you've been in, there's often your job description, the thing that you get paid for, and then there's what you find yourself doing over and over again and going above and beyond or just can't stop doing. I want you to think about those situations. What are the, as you look at all of the different roles and places that you have been, places where you've gotten paid, what do you find yourself doing over and over again, that really is not a part of your job? It's not a part of your role, but you can't help stop doing it. That, whatever that is, to give you a clue as to where you can be spending more time. It might not be obvious at first, but that's the place where you want to start digging. And then one of the things I mentioned earlier, I want you to look for those oddities. Sometimes this is really difficult to do alone. Sometimes it's really difficult because of the same thing that causes strengths envy. We think that what we are great at, that everybody else is great at. We think that things that come easy to us are things that come too easy to everybody. And that's absolutely not true. Over and over and over again, you'll find, if you're looking for it, that's not true. So instead, I want you look for what are those oddities, those places that show up. That's going to help guide you as you're trying to figure out and dive deeper into how you can leverage your strengths over and over again.

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:26

Hey, if you've been listening to our episodes here at Happen To Your Career, and you want to make an intentional career change to much more meaningful work and have it neatly laid out into an organized framework, well, guess what? We actually have that available for you in the Happen To Your Career book. It's available on Amazon, audible, anywhere else where you get your books. You'll learn about the five hidden obstacles stopping your career change, how to figure out what truly make you happy with your career, and what brings you more happy more often. And more importantly, how to transition to a much more fulfilling career and life. You can find the book on Amazon, audible, anywhere where books are sold. By the way, people are particularly loving the audiobook, which you can access right now in seconds.

Scott Anthony Barlow 42:14

Here's a sneak peek into what we have coming up for you next week, right here on Happen To Your Career.

Speaker 3 42:21

I didn't want the success of my job to be determined by things that I didn't want to do or wasn't comfortable with.

Scott Anthony Barlow 42:27

A long time ago, I used to work for Target. And I did Human Resource Management and Leadership for Target. And it was a pretty wonderful opportunity. I love the company. They took great care of me. Much of the leadership training that I got, and have to this day, came from Target putting time and money, and effort into me. So I'm forever appreciative of that. Also, at the same time, I was working for them and they decided that they wanted to move their HR that supported stores more and more and more into the stores and more into the standard retail environment. Now, that was exactly the right decision for them. But it really wasn't that great for me, to be honest. And that's something I have seen over and over and over again, where people go through, they get a job, it's amazing opportunity, and then the company changes or it evolves into something else and it's no longer amazing. It's not even awesome. It's the opposite of that. That happens.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:47

All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically, even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out.

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