Friday, March 18, 2011

Strengths as a Weakness

by Will Deyamport, III MSEd

Over the past few months, several experts across several fields and disciplines have written about the need to work from one's strengths. As I started to think about what I would write for The Strengths Project series, I thought about my own strengths and the times in which I've soared and the times I've fallen on my face. Unlike the experts, I come to you as someone who is still trying to find his place in this world. What you are about to read is an epiphany I had when I stared at the hundreds of jobs listed on a job site...

Each of us are born with innate and unique gifts. Whether if it is how we communicate with others, how we view the world, how we process information, or how we complete tasks or even how we learn, our actions illuminate our strengths. Which is why discovering, building upon, and seeking out opportunities that allow us to maximize our strengths is so important. However, just as our strengths is our greatest asset; they are also our greatest weakness.

Since earning my second bachelor's in Child and Family Studies, I have been on a never-ending mission to find my niche. Along the way, I have taken the StrengthsFinder Profile, the Enneagram, the MBTI, and the Holland Code. As it turns out, I am passionate about people and their stories - a natural at networking, strategic planning, coming up with ideas and creative solutions, inspiring and empowering others, and I am driven to get things done. Conversely, I also loose interest in projects that gone on without seeing progress, impatient with people who don't have that internal motivation, get bored with mundane, routine tasks, and I feel trapped within rigid, inflexible systems.

Ironically, the most poignant thing I've learned from those assessments is that my strengths and my weaknesses are different sides of the same coin. By that I mean in the right position and organization, my successes will only be limited by my effort and my imagination. But, in the wrong position and organization, frustration and failure is a sure thing.

I have a year and three months left in my doctoral program. So, as I move forward, I have to keep in mind how my strengths fit with an organization's culture. Wish me luck. I don't want to be Dr. Will and broke.


  1. The right position in the right organization is critical to one's success. I would offer that reporting to the person who focuses and builds on your strengths is crucial. Our satisfaction in our daily lives at work lies in the interpersonal relationships we form with those closest around us. When you begin the process of finding the right fit, follow your intuition about how fulfilled you'll feel in the environment.

    Helen Antholis,

  2. Helen,

    Thank you for the advice. After my time at GEAR UP, working with people who get me and have the development of my strengths are a priority. In addition, I totally understand what you mean about the environment. Though I loved my job and the students, being at a school with 2000 students wasn't my thing. It just didn't feel cozy enough for me.

  3. We share some similar character traits - passionate about people & their stories, get bored, come up with creative ideas and solutions - and I know from personal experience that it's important to be involved in multiple venues. This becomes doubly important because degrees don't guarantee employment in our current society. You sound like you're on the proper track, though, being a writer as well as an academic.

  4. The Smarty Pants Teacher.

    Thanks for leaving a comment. I will be looking at job opportunities with Cisco and Pearson. I need a position with many layers and responsibilities - especially those that are creative in nature.