Think strengths, not weaknesses
Part 2: Career lessons from "The Adventures of Johnny Bunko" by Dan Pink
“You cannot be anything you want to be - but you can be a whole lot more of who you already are.”
― Tom Rath
There are two ways to find work you’re passionate about:
Work on something that aligns with your values
Leverage your strengths
A few years ago, I was halfway through my MBA studies and felt like I was stuck in a rut. I had gained admittance to a top 5 business school and committed to a six-figure tuition price tag, but it was becoming clear that a career in finance wasn’t something that was going to keep me happy. Fortunately, I had a lot of options but was having trouble determining the right path.
I happened to pick up Dan Pink’s book “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko” that summer which taught me an important lesson:
The most successful people capitalize on their strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses.
This contradicted most career advice I had received up until that point. My head was spinning with questions. Aren’t well-rounded individuals more likely to get promoted? Do I actually know what my strengths are?
This strengths-based approach stems from research by psychologists Marcus Buckingham and Martin Seligman. They found that individuals who leverage their strengths were more satisfied with their work and more likely to achieve the elusive state of “flow”. This idea has built momentum over the years and inspired the bestselling book “StrengthsFinder 2.0” by Tom Rath, which helped me discover my unique strengths.
Through the assessment featured in “StrengthsFinder 2.0” I learned my top 5 strengths:
I resolved to find a career path that better leveraged my strengths including working in a more dynamic industry (technology) to fulfill my desire to learn, and working closely with customers so I could use my empathy skills. Around the same time, I decided to double down on marketing courses and pick up some side projects which eventually led to a more fulfilling role in product management.
Think strengths, not weaknesses.