Applying Your Strengths Can Make Work Feel Like a Day at the Beach

beach walkIt sounded like such a great idea back when spring was still weeks away.

Lead a nature class on the beach?

Cool. A perfect kickstart to the summer season.

For a hundred or so sixth graders?

Awesome. Teaching + the beach = two of my favorite things. I even adore middle school kids. Seriously.

As the class drew near, I was a hot mess of doubt and anxiety.

I told myself it was the about logistics.

Getting there on time would take the perfect alignment of about a gazillion details. There was no time for reconnaissance at the beach before class. And I’d be teaching just a snippet of the overall content to three difference groups of kids, not my favorite set-up.

Logistics were so not the issue.

My anxiety was all about The Anniversary.

Three years ago this month, I left a teaching job that started out like a dream and ended up, well, “nightmare” sounds cliché and “nearly killing me” a tad dramatic, but neither is an exaggeration.

Midway between submitting my resignation and cleaning out my desk, I attended a coaching workshop where I learned about my character strengths. I became crystal clear about my natural ways of being in and adding value to the world in a single, 90-minute session. Three years later, I’m still discovering new ways to leverage my strengths with intention and creativity.

I also learned that my strengths weren’t valued in the organization I was leaving.

Not. At. All.

No wonder I was exhausted.

Content knowledge, skills, experience, a gold-plated masters degree – even a great salary – couldn’t make up for the frustration of not feeling valued.

What a gift to finally realize that I do have strengths that are valued.

We all do.

What a joy to do a lot more teaching over the past three years.

Coaching workshops for professional organizations and university staffers. Elementary school students at an arboretum and adults and families on the beach. Middle school kids at a music camp.

Teaching infused with ease and delight.

I put aside the anxiety and faced the sixth graders, ready to let my strengths shine.

By showing up fully as myself, we were all able to learn and share and grow together.

With such ease and joy, it was like a day at the beach.

 

Knowing and using your natural ways of being in the world can make a world of difference in your energy, your well-being and the ease with which you’re able to put your gifts out into the world.

Jumpstart Your Journey is an individual strategy session to help you learn your strengths quickly and lay the foundation to broaden and deepen the way you apply them over the long term. 

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