This post is dedicated to Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. She is currently looking for a more exciting job and I thought it would be a good exercise to think about as one prepares for interviews.
I inherited a trait from Babci that I can only describe as the ability to have an “intense focus on the task at hand.” In fact, this weekend I had an extra 1/2 hour before a date, so I decided I would take a few minutes and start cleaning out my flower bed. To make a long story short, as I was cutting down my bee balm, I ended up standing in a bees nest. I didn’t even notice the bees swarming around me until I started getting stung. When I looked down at my feet, there I was standing right near a bee hive hole with bees swarming all around me. I asked my husband to take a look at my sting and then said “I can’t believe I didn’t notice I was standing in a bees nest.” His response “I can believe it.” Oh yeah, I guess I can totally ignore everything around me once my mind is fixated on something. Oops. I did it again.
The reason I know I inherited this trait from Babci is she once made me drive to the hardware store during a really bad snowstorm to get a can of metal paint. She decided she wanted to paint our old claw foot tub and she needed that can of paint RIGHT NOW! She nagged me like it was the end of the world until I finally put on my snow boots, went out during the blizzard and got it. I made her go with me and slid around on the roads a little extra just to make her realize how foolish her request was. She never did end up using that can of paint. It annoys me to this day. On the flip side, during gardening season, she can stay outside for 12 hours straight and get a big chunk of work done with little to no breaks. It’s both her biggest strength and biggest weakness.
At work, I see my strength/weakness in use all the time. It’s fabulous when I need to get a job done. Once I’m in the zone, I’m unstoppable. The downside is that if I hit a roadblock, it can really be hard to switch gears to work on something else. The other downside is that sometimes I fixate on something not that important and I don’t prioritize tasks as I should. (ie, can of paint, vs personal safety) I think in general though, I like this trait. I like that I can work on something for 12 hours straight until complete physical exhaustion sets in. That’s handy. So what about dealing with the weaknesses this trait brings?
Here’s what I think is critical:
- Figure out what your natural gifts are.
- Understand the pros and cons of said gifts.
- Try to increase your awareness of when you are using your gift in a negative way. If you don’t realize when you’re doing it, ask friends or loved ones to help with identification.
- Tell yourself “Shut up Brain” and figure out what is the most logical thing to do is instead. Remember, you control your brain, not the other way around. Your thoughts are just that…thoughts and nothing else. You have the ability to change those thoughts to something more positive and/or productive.
It’ll be interesting to see if either of my 2 kids inherit this trait. Right now it can easily be confused with impatience, so I’m not sure yet.
Do you have a strong character trait that is both a strength and weakness? What is it and how do you cope with the weakness part of the equation?