The Strategic Eye
For me, it has been a curse. I have been accused – often – of not being able to live in the moment. That I am either dwelling in the past of living for the future. It is not something I choose, trust me. It is in my general make-up. Every situation has an outcome, every outcome can either be viewed as a consequence or a happy ending. And it doesn’t always depend upon your point of view – it is usually just the way it is. I am the type of person who sees far down the road to the next turn and I am consumed by how I should make that turn, when I should prepare, and what will happen next. When I hesitate, it is because I do not have enough information about the turn – or I perceive there are bumps in the road that would prevent me from getting to the turn anyway.
It is My Curse
I don’t think I am alone in this curse though. Many have been derailed from their track or slowed their descent/ascent because they have the ability to see far ahead to where they are going and what will result if they continue on. It is nice to know that I am not alone. On the converse to being derailed is railroading through when you see a clear path and time is of the essence to get there while it is still clear. I have been known to push my own agenda through because clear and present danger is non-existent – the path is unencumbered and is straight for as far as I can see. When the path you are on and the destination you are heading toward makes sense, there is no hesitation – there is no roadblock that will stop me. These are perfect characteristics for the jobs I have held and for the career path I have created for myself.
But failure is imminent when my vision includes a full scope of what may happen / will happen when the current road is adhered too. Why? Because no matter what others say or how they encourage me – or what I think and/or want to do – when it doesn’t coincide with I know or instinctually perceive will happen, my brakes are pressed. My climb is slowed, my pursuit must divert for the light is in another tunnel.
Liabilities vs. Assets
I used to think this was a liability for me – others have called this trait “strong-willed” or stubbornness” – when really, it is foresight, it is strategy. I changed how I thought about it several years ago following a StrengthsFinders test. I was a new recruiter and the firm where I worked required the team to take the StrengthsFinders.com evaluation/test/survey. Upon completion, my 1st strength was revealed as WOO (winning other over) – a perfect skill for a recruiter and my 5th strength was determined to be Strategy. I was shocked – I had never thought of myself as strategic. Follwoing further review and contemplation, everything made sense, the pieces finally fit. Over the years and resulting subsequent exams, these two strengths have switched places with Strategy moving to 1 and WOO moving to 5. Interesting how perception and time have the ability to change all things.
Once I realized that my strategic thinking could be used for good, instead of stubborn responses, a whole new world opened up for me. Several years ago, I read The Art of War for Executives, based upon the lessons by Sun Tzu. Upon reading this book, the chapter about turning your liabilities into assets struck a chord with me and I haven’t stopped singing since. Strategy was once a liability for me – I viewed it as why I couldn’t get things done. Instead of viewing it as increased knowledge, I viewed it as limiting knowledge. Oh how a simple flop of words can alter the course of a career.
Weaknesses can be Your Strengths
Flop your thinking. Identify what you perceive as a liability or a weakness and turn it into an asset or a strength. It’s kind of like how a broken bone becomes stronger at the place of the break once it heals. Or how a bigger heart blooms where a broken heart once resided — IF you let it. We are not automatons. We are not animals. We are human and fallible. But we each have powers yet unseen. Time to reveal your greatest strength – it just might be your weakness. Look there first.
by Rayanne Thorn