What Are Your Specials?

Date posted: April 23, 2009  
Filed under: Career Transition, Communications, Networking

Ok, times are tough. Yes. And the press keeps insisting that times are uncertain. Yes. And? What are you doing about it?

Having lived through a number of recessions and coached hundreds of executives in position or looking for one, tough times can be incredibly painful and useful.

Useful, for whom you might ask? No fun having cash flow anxiety. No fun having to cut back on everything. But cutting back may mean digging deeper into yourself and discovering more of yourself not less.

For example did you know that enrollment in higher education always increases in tough times? What is that all about?

I think it’s about people saying to themselves, “Well, times are tough so maybe it’s a time to rethink myself. Or to reinvent myself, so I think I will go back to school to gain some more knowledge or deepen my interests that have languished for too long. So when this thing blows over, I’ll l be ready in a brand new way.”

How are you going to be ready in a brand new way? Some call it reinventing yourself. Well, I find that reinventing notion implies that you invented yourself in the first place and I am not sure that is really accurately stated. Maybe it’s more like honoring your different parts, your different “specials” and while you might want to add to them, or develop them, first you have to honor them.

When my one of my daughters was first feeling the challenges adolescence, adjusting to the new uncertainty, pressures and adjustments to a new school, routine etc, I told her that she had her own set of “specials” that were uniquely hers, that no one could be or copy. The conversation stopped her and she asked me what I meant. I told her that what made her who she was included her background, her intelligence, her values and her interests, her delights and her desires, her soft spots and her strengths. She took that to heart and for many years we referred to her specials’ as reminders of who she was. I am pretty sure that she remembers it to this day.

Welcome to your second adolescence! This is an adjustment phase for you now. So what are your specials and strengths? If you were an investment banker, that’s merely a title. What’s the story behind it? What are the talents, skills, ‘specials’ do you have? What other ‘specials’ would you like to dust off and bring into the light of day? Sit down and ask yourself, “If someone had to be me in that role, what would they have to 1) love to do 2) know how to do 3) possess what knowledge 4) have temperament-wise 5) have as talents 6) have as a personality 7)communication style 8)accomplishments/contributions.

Thinking about yourself and your ‘specials’ is a way to reconnect with you, for a moment, and to remind yourself that no matter what you know who you are and what you value. Not a bad second adolescence and with your future in front of you, a great way to prepare for that next challenge.

Once you get hold of yourself, your ‘specials’ you can take different look at yourself, yes, without the title and begin, anew to seek out the people who need someone quite ‘special.’

There is a quote that is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “Hide not your talents (I would call them specials). They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?”

Oh, and if you would like to find out your strengths, try Tom Rath’s “Strengths Finder 2.0” and use their online assessement as a starting point.

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