• David Strittmatter

How to identify your strengths and why you need to capitalize on them 💪💯

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.

Dear Friend,

Welcome back to another weekly learnings. This week I hadn’t the most “insightful” time. However, I had another great work week at my internship, could visit my friends in my home town and all in all had a great time. I hope you had a nice week as well and can enjoy reading this post.

Now, writing this on my way back to the place I am currently living I am reflecting what I learned this week. One thing I want to share with you is something I first thought was only a very stupid mistake from me which wouldn’t be worth sharing. I found out, though, that many people in my closer circle experienced the same issue. Therefore, my fellow readers, I want to share this little advice with you.

Never wear new shoes for work/sports the first time when you need them

If you have to wear particular shoes for whatever reason (hiking, dancing, other forms of sport or - as in my case - for the job) and you are not used to wearing such shoes, do not wear them the first time (a whole day) on the day you have to wear them (e. g. on your first work day). Shoes - especially when they are made out of leather - need several hours wearing them before your feet fit them well. Otherwise you might face severe pain. In my case I have to wear classic suit shoes. I even wore those weeks before for a few hours a day, but I didn’t walk longer distances with them. As a result, I had not only blisters on my feet but am still really wounded (after almost 2 weeks).

Similar problems had around 50% of my friends and other people starting with the summer internship at the same time like me, too. Therefore, I really recommend you to wear your shoes several times before you really need them and try to walk longer and longer distances with them. At first you might only wear them inside your home for a few hours. Then you should wear them when you go shopping or using them when walking small distances outside. If you are able to walk at least one kilometer/mile with the new shoes on, your feet will most likely be accustomed to the new shoes and you can wear them regularly when you have to. Otherwise, you might be in this very unpleasant situation like me that you have to wear them and are in a lot of pain. This advice might sound very banal – in particular for the more experienced readers – but I think acting on this advice might prevent a lot of people a very unpleasant experience.

Find a job you fall in love with

Another – a little more impacting ;) - learning I’ve had in the past week(s) is the importance of striving for a job/work I see my strengths in and I am passionate about. As I’ve already mentioned several times I am really happy about my time in my internship. Currently, it is an ideal mixture of satisfying challenges, interesting topics, great colleagues, a massive learning curve, pleasant work atmosphere… I have already worked for 5 employers in 6 different jobs (internships, part-time jobs, holiday jobs) and I have never been so passionate and happy about my work.

You cannot believe how positively this affects my daily life. One example to make this more illustrative: I think almost all of you know this feeling. You are at work and its 11 am. You look at the watch and cannot believe that’s still not 12 am so that you can go for lunch. At 3 pm the same situation: Your work is so unpleasant that you just want the time to run faster in order to leave work punctually. This was the way I felt in my previous jobs, too.

In contrast to, in my current situation I look at the watch and cannot believe that it is already 1 pm and that I “have to" go for lunch with colleagues. Same situation at 5 pm: I just cannot believe that the time is running so fast. It is crazy how satisfying my work currently is and I am really grateful about this. Because of that I really recommend you that you strive for a job that gives you such an experience as well. But easier said than done, right? In order to find work which is so pleasant you need to try out many things. A short cut could be that you find your strengths, search for jobs where you can capitalize on it and your aspirations are fulfilled.

Questions that can help you to find this job is the following: “What was the best day at work you’ve had in the past three months?”, “Which activities are so intrinsically satisfying that you look forward to doing it again and again?” and “Which type of work does not drain much energy from you and enables you to get in a state of high concentration and losing your feeling of time?”. The advantages of working on something you are very good at and passionate about are really huge. Besides a very high level of satisfaction and happiness (you go to bed with the feeling that you cannot wait to wake up and for the next day to start), there are many other effects (empirically proven): Higher productivity (more output), higher effectiveness (better output), less sick days, higher customer satisfaction, better relationships, better relationship to your spouse and family and many more.

This is another learning all of us have somehow already heard somewhere. However, as with many of those truisms (things we all know but does not really help us) from “personal development coaches”, they show their impact first when you try them out by yourself. Since I had heard the first time that I should follow my interests and passions and capitalize on my strengths, I have been convinced that this might be true. However, I haven’t really made use of this evidence. Luckily, I can experience personally the huge positive effects of seeking for a pleasant job in my internship. This is the reason I really advise you to follow this commonly known advice (e. g. do not solely do a project/internship for your career but something which is exciting for you).

This was the last week's post. I hope you can learn something from these learnings, too. 


All the best to you and yours, David

Self-improvement tips based on my learnings. One article per week. No spam ever.

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