Friday, June 17, 2011

Strengths Finder

After my post yesterday I decided to go out and buy the book that I had heard about - the online personality assessment to determine where my strengths lie. It's called Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. After reading part 1, I came to realize that everything it was telling me was inherently true. The gist of the book is this: all too often people focus on their weaknesses and do their best to overcome them. They try to work so hard on the areas where they come up short in their try to achieve balance and become a more "well-rounded" individual. But Strengths Finder 2.0 encourages us to focus not on what we do poorly, but what we do well. It helps us take a look at what we excel in, and teaches us how to capitalize on those strengths in whatever it is that we're passionate about.

I've been on a One Tree Hill kick recently. Since being laid off about a month and a half ago, I've had a lot of time to catch up on Soap Net and what can I say, the CW always knew how to reel me in with their dramas. Right now, they're in the 2008 season when everyone has come back to Tree Hill after going to college or pursuing their passions. Lucas Scott is this amazing author, Peyton Sawyer owns a recording studio, Brooke Davis is a fashion designer who owns her own store, Nathan Scott is trying to get back into the NBA after his back injury, Haley James Scott is a high school literature teacher and "Mouth" Marvin McFadden is the sports anchor at a Tree Hill news studio. Now, I'll be honest, I didn't keep up with OTH when it first started. I caught an episode here and there but didn't keep up enough to know who was dating who on a weekly basis. Lucky for me, Soap Net shows OLD episodes on the weekends and right now they're playing season one during "Breakfast in Bed" on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Watching the two seasons, which are 4-5 years apart, at the same time has given me great perspective on my life. Television is like that though, right? Always somehow relatable (or at least the good shows are). What I've realized is that the 2008 season and season 1 run quite parallel to one another. Lucas narrates a lot of Season 1 so it seems as though his natural talent of writing shines through a little bit. Brooke, ever the fashionista seems like just the type to want to go into the fashion business. Mouth McFadden commentates on all the basketball games that Nathan is the star player for. Haley tutors Nathan in English to keep him on the team. And Peyton is the tragic teenager who puts her heart and soul into music and illustrations. And years later, these characters are all making their living by focusing on exactly what they excelled in back in high school. And wouldn't you know it, they're extremely passionate about these dreams that ultimately become reality once they funnel their raw talent in with hard work.

I mentioned yesterday that when I was asked to paint the picture of my perfect job, that marketing wasn't the first thing that popped into my mind. The truth is, my mind immediately went to writing, non-profit work and cooking. Granted, my experience in marketing will likely help my future endeavors, whatever those may be - going to business school wasn't a complete waste, but I'm not sure if forcing myself into another desk job is where I will excel from here on out. I strongly believe that pursuing the things I'm naturally talented in will serve me better than trying to mold myself into something that I could be just because society (and my undergrad degree) tells me to do so. I want to be fired up about my next move. Life is too short to trudge along in a field I'm not happy in...which is another thing that Strengths Finder 2.0 tells us. "Talent X Investment = Strength". So if you have zero talent in a certain field but you invest a ton of time trying to make yourself better at said talent field, you'll end up on the losing end of that equation every time. But if you take an area where you have tons of talend (for me writing, cooking, and work with non-profits) and invest your time, sweat, blood and tears into that field, there's no way I can't come out on top! I guess what I'm saying (and what Strengths Finder 2.0 is saying) is that it's time for me to stop beating a dead horse in an area that I don't naturally excel in and could really not give 2 shits about, and start focusing my energy on things that I naturally excel in and am passionate about.

So yesterday, I started looking into culinary schools. My parents just might kill me for moving into this direction because, oh wait - don't I already have an undergrad degree?? But the truth is, it's my life and I want to be happy and fulfilled and I simply don't see myself being able to be happy and fulfilled unless I try my hand at this new venture. It will surely be a lifestyle change for me. Going back to school and going back to having no money will definitely be a transition...but most of the programs I've looked into are a year long (if that) and they all have job-placement programs at the end. There's a reason why my last job and my internship revolved around food-based clients. And I honestly think that my exposure to the food industry is part of what's lead me here. I may not end up an amazing chef but I could end up being a food critic. Or maybe I will open up my own cafe one day, or end up on a cooking show. Perhaps I'll end up cooking food for those less fortunate...who knows! But now that I've started to explore this option of culinary school, I can't imagine myself doing anything else!

Get ready world, this hot mess is ready to turn up the heat in the kitchen.

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