Here’s a video I’ve seen on Facebook a few times featuring Steve Harvey, talking about how you need to “jump” to make your life better. This should be required viewing for everyone. Ignore the religious parts of this if you want….that’s up to you and I don’t really know if it’s Biblical or not. The core of this message is the most important message I can give my kids as they grow up.
Just to build on this, I hope to also impart the idea that when you find your gift, not only do you need to run with it, you need to nurture it. There’s an awesome book called Now, Discover your Strengths, and a followup called Strengths Finder, that throw out a lot of the rules when it comes to personal development.
The main idea in these books is that it doesn’t make any sense for someone to take a listing of their weaknesses and work to make them better. The better option is to consider your strengths and go out and nurture them. This is the exact opposite of every corporate individual development plan thing I ever did, at least until I read and worked through these books. Sure, there are things you have to do in your career that you suck at, and you have to become at least somewhat proficient in them, but, by and large, you should focus on what you’re good at. Basically, most people like doing things they’re good at and hate doing things they aren’t, so not only could you make more money nurturing your gifts, but you’ll also be happier.
If you’re good logic and doing stuff like programming, you should make a career out of it and try to be the best programmer in the world. If you enjoy working outdoors and building things, you should go become the best damn carpenter around. If you enjoy meeting people and talking things up, you should probably be in sales. If you’re a great public speaker, maybe teaching or the ministry is up your alley.
Too many technical people are put in a career path where they are expected to someday go into management. Being in IT is pretty nice in that you can make a darn fine living either remaining technical or going into management, but there’s a fork in the road where you kinda need to decide. I was always on the fence as to what to do, until I read these books. Afterward, the Strengths Finder made clear to me that my place is as a technical resource. I don’t like dealing with conflict, I don’t like holding people accountable for their work, and I don’t like being responsible for things that I cannot directly fix. I DO like learning new things. I DO enjoy solving problems. IT is basically a perfect fit.
If I can get my kids to see that they need to jump at some point and that they need to nurture those gifts that they have, I think I’ll have done a pretty good job of parenting. Even if they end up doing art and living in my basement….