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October 5, 1994

Be Natural, Be You

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Stepping Stone Two walks us toward the realization that we need to appropriately use our built-in, internally engineered skills that just come naturally.
In all this talk of versatility, however, don’t forget that you do have certain strengths. Each person is wired with skills that simply come naturally—logical thinking, relational intuition, steadiness, motivational skills, etc.
Take the time to identify the skills that come naturally to you. It can be as informal as a conversation with a boss or a friend that starts with, “What do you think my best skills are?” or as formal as taking one of the array of strengths inventory tests that are available. At the least, it will take some self-reflection. Then, once you’ve identified your built-in strengths, use them. Find a job or job responsibilities that utilize these special strengths. You’ll be more satisfied and your company will be more profitable.
So, start with your strengths, but don’t finish there. You can’t afford to. Books like Marcus Buckingham’s Now, Discover Your Strengths are helpful to a point, but they often deny the reality that the modern market requires more than the four or five skills we’re naturally good at. At some point, the market says, “You’re not necessarily a long-range planner? Or, you think long range but not about today’s to-do list? OK. Well, do it anyway or your effectiveness is limited.”

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