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Career Lessons from a Four-Year Old

 I recently visited my four-year old niece, Mirah.  GIRL 2015a
When I entered her house, she informed me she was a doctor in a hospital. I unsus- pectingly became patient #3.  The ‘doctor’ gave me a diagnosis and sent me home wearing 38 bandages for my treatment (ouch).  During another visit I was a client in a bank along with my sister-in-law.  Mirah, the bank manager, was seriously immersed in her role.  In front of her sat a play cash register.  She pulled out some blank red cards and asked us to write out checks for outrageous amounts in her name.  (I see Wall Street in her future.)  

Typical of children at this age, she was excited to play act different roles.  So, I asked if she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. With her hand on her hip, she unequivocally replied “Absolutely!  I want to be a ‘restauranter’, a vet, and a movie star.” It’s not hard to notice talents in children during play (either alone or with others).  Ever watch kids selling lemonade?  There’s generally one who’s talking to the customers, one who’s organizing and handing out the lemonade, and another who’s counting the till.  Talents will always show up and are easy to spot when we’re young.

 As we move through our lives talents aren’t always noticed and certainly not always rewarded. Take a look at your work environment.  Are you satisfied with your work?  Do you enjoy your tasks?  If not, this is likely because you aren’t engaging your natural talents.  Think about your last performance appraisal.  When it was over were you focusing on your achievements or your ‘weaknesses’, those areas where you were lacking?  You probably spent much too much time thinking about where you came up short.  The work place spends tons of time, money and effort on ‘helping’ employees fix their weaknesses instead of looking at how to maximize their talents.  What a waste.

 The real focus should be on using and building your strengths.  Do you really know your talents? Do you know what motivates you?  (Hint:  it’s not usually money.  Inspiration comes from doing what you do naturally). So, put your efforts into uncovering and developing your strengths.  That’s where your satisfaction will come from. According to Gallup organization, if you use those strengths you enjoy most, you’ll be six times happier in your work.  So, what are you waiting for!

 Einstein says, “Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believin

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