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One Thing Your Teachers Did Very Wrong

One Thing Your Teachers Did Very Wrong

The Teacher’s Great Deception

Let me ask you a simple question: What are your strengths? Let’s think for a minute before reading further.

You probably started your thinking process by listing the things you are good at. This is exactly what your teachers did very wrong, and it has had serious consequences in your life.

It was hard for me to believe that when I counted all the time I spent in the education system, the total number was 17 years. I’ve spent 17 years being graded thousands of times for everything I did. It’s just a long list of subject names along with A, B, C and others (or actually, in Poland, where I live, I could get 5 for being really good and 1 for being really bad at something).

Great Discovery

Let’s stop for a moment and think about it. For many, many years, you and I were receiving grades from our teachers that were supposed to reflect the quality of our work in every possible aspect. But here is the point:

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A strength is not just something you’re good at; it is something that makes you feel strong!

And how many people on the whole planet know what makes you feel strong?
Think for a minute.

That’s right. Exactly one.
It is you.

In my case I could get through 17 years of learning, receive thousands of grades, yet among the teachers, there was rarely anybody asking “what do you feel when you are doing this?” And I was the only one on the whole planet who could answer that question.

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This is why I could get the same grades in two subjects, but one was making me feel strong and the other was draining my energy. This is why I could spend hours studying the first one and researching additional information, while I was learning the other just to pass the exam and nothing more.

Try listing things that make you feel strong. It could be the same things your teachers told you you’re good at, but not necessarily. You helped the old lady while others didn’t care, and she smiled in return, so you felt strong. You woke up at 4:00 in the morning to see the sunset in the mountains while others didn’t care, so you felt strong. You were solving a difficult logical problem and 3 hours passed like 15 minutes, so you felt strong. Take a few minutes to make your list; it can really open your eyes.

Your strength

    Great Difference

    When you meet people, you can immediately tell if what they are doing is making them feel strong or not. They don’t even have to speak–it’s just one look in their eyes, and you are immediately aware. The same applies to you!

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    If you are fueled by passion and by doing something that makes you feel strong, you can work harder than anyone else. People can see it in 5 seconds, before you even open your mouth. This is why we love passionate people; their energy level speaks for itself.

    Do you know what Michael Jordan heard in 10th grade when he was trying to join the varsity team in basketball? That’s right, he was deemed “too short.” It is hard to believe and today it sounds funny, but this is exactly what your teachers did wrong–they can tell only what is external and rarely anything about the internal volcano that is inside you.

    Great Responsibility

    With that knowledge comes great responsibility.

    The worst thing about this pattern learned through education is that it continues in business world, and then your boss is the person giving you grades and, be honest, rarely asking about your feelings.

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    There is only one person in the world that knows how you feel when you do things. It is you who needs to take responsibility over your own strengths because only you can feel it. Do not wait until your boss guesses it, or until your partner recognize it–you have to find it yourself and be able to communicate it effectively.

    There is a secret inside you. Whenever you feel strong, stop for just one minute and contemplate about it. What is it that made you feel this way? Remember that others can only see the quality of your work, not your emotions.

    It is easy to judge other people according to the results of their work; however, their (and yours!) inner life quite often precedes the results. Let’s look at Jesus and the way he has chosen the twelve. Were they any known, great leaders? Spectacular speakers? He could see their potential before even they could see it.

    So, let me ask once again: what are your strengths?

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    Piotr Nabielec

    Author, CEO, Consultant

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    Last Updated on November 26, 2020

    How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success

    How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success

    As playwright Wilson Mizner supposedly said all the way back in the 1930s,

    “Be kind to everyone on the way up; you will meet the same people on the way down.”

    The adage is the perfect prototype for relationship building in 2020, although we may want to expand Mizner’s definition of “kind” to include being helpful, respectful, grateful, and above all, crediting your colleagues along the way.

    5 Ways to Switch on Your Relationship Building Magnetism

    Relationship building does not come easily to all. Today’s computer culture makes us more insular and less likely to reach out—not to mention our new work-from-home situation in which we are only able to interact virtually. Still, relationship building remains an important part of career engagement and success, and it gets better with practice.

    Here are five ways you can strengthen your relationships:

    1. Advocate for Other’s Ideas

    Take the initiative to speak up in support of other team members’ good ideas. Doing so lets others know that the team’s success takes precedence over your needs for personal success. Get behind any colleague’s innovative approach or clever solution and offer whatever help you can give to see it through. Teammates will value your vote of confidence and your support.

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    2. Show Compassion

    If you learn that someone whom you work with has encountered difficult times, reach out. If it’s not someone you know well, a hand-written card expressing your sympathy and hopes for better times ahead could be an initial gesture. If it’s someone with whom you interact regularly, the act could involve offering to take on some of the person’s work to provide a needed reprieve or even bringing in a home-cooked dish as a way to offer comfort. The show of compassion will not go unnoticed, and your relationship building will have found a foothold.

    3. Communicate Regularly

    Make an effort to share any information with team members that will help them do their jobs more effectively. Keeping people in the loop says a lot about your consideration for what others need to deliver their best results.

    Try to discover the preferred mode of communication for each team member. Some people are fine relying on emails; others like to have a phone conversation. And once we can finally return to working together in offices, you may determine that face-to-face updates may be most advantageous for some members.

    4. Ask for Feedback

    Showing your willingness to reach out for advice and guidance will make a positive impression on your boss. When you make it clear that you welcome and can accept pointers, you display candor and trust in what opinions your superior has to offer. Your proclivity towards considering ways of improving your performance and strengthening any working interactions will signal your strong relationship skills.

    If you are in a work environment where you are asked to give feedback, be generous and compassionate. That does not mean being wishy-washy. Try always to give the type of feedback that you wouldn’t mind receiving.

    5. Give Credit Where It’s Due

    Be the worker who remembers to credit staffers with their contributions. It’s a surprisingly rare talent to credit others, but when you do so, they will remember to credit you, and the collective credit your team will accrue will be well worth the effort.

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    How Does Relationship Building Build Careers?

    Once you have strengthened and deepened your relationships, here are some of the great benefits:

    Work Doesn’t Feel So Much Like Work

    According to a Gallup poll, when you have a best friend at work, you are more likely to feel engaged with your job. Work is more fun when you have positive, productive relationships with your colleagues. Instead of spending time and energy overcoming difficult personalities, you can spend time enjoying the camaraderie with colleagues as you work congenially on projects together. When your coworkers are your friends, time goes by quickly and challenges don’t weigh as heavily.

    You Can Find Good Help

    It’s easier to ask for assistance when you have a good working relationship with a colleague. And with office tasks changing at the speed of technology, chances are that you are going to need some help acclimating—especially now that work has gone remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Much of relationship building rests on your genuine expressions of appreciation toward others. Showing gratitude for another’s help or for their willingness to put in the extra effort will let them know you value them.

    Mentors Come Out of the Woodwork

    Mentors are proven to advance your professional and career development. A mentor can help you navigate how to approach your work and keep you apprised of industry trends. They have a plethora of experience to draw from that can be invaluable when advising you on achieving career success and advancement.

    Mentors flock to those who are skilled at relationship building. So, work on your relationships and keep your eyes peeled for a worthy mentor.

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    You Pull Together as a Team

    Great teamwork starts with having an “abundance mentality” rather than a scarcity mentality. Too often, workers view all projects through a scarcity mentality lens. This leads to office strife as coworkers compete for their piece of the pie. But in an abundance mentality mode, you focus on the strengths that others bring rather than the possibility that they are potential competitors.

    Instead, you can commit relationship building efforts to ensure a positive work environment rather than an adversarial one. When you let others know that you intend to support their efforts and contribute to their success, they will respond in kind. Go, team!

    Your Network Expands and So Does Your Paycheck

    Expand your relationship building scope beyond your coworkers to include customers, suppliers, and other industry stakeholders. Your extra efforts can lead to extra sales, a more rewarding career, and even speedy professional advancement. And don’t overlook the importance of building warm relationships with assistants, receptionists, or even interns.

    Take care to build bridges, not just to your boss and your boss’s boss but with those that work under you as well. You may find that someone who you wouldn’t expect will put in a good word for you with your supervisor.

    Building and maintaining good working relationships with everyone you come in contact with can pay off in unforeseen ways. You never know when that underling will turn out to be the company’s “golden child.” Six years from now you may be turning to them for a job. If you have built up a good, trusting work relationship with others along your way, you will more likely be considered for positions that any of these people may be looking to fill.

    Your Job Won’t Stress You Out

    Study shows that some 83 percent of American workers experience work-related stress.[1] Granted, some of that stress is now likely caused by the new pandemic-triggered workplace adjustments, yet bosses and management, in general, are reportedly the predominant source of stress for more than one-third of workers.

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    Having meaningful connections among coworkers is the best way to make work less stressful. Whether it is having others whom to commiserate with, bounce ideas off, or bring out your best performance, friendships strengthen the group’s esprit de corps and lower the stress level of your job.

    Your Career Shines Bright

    Who would you feel better about approaching to provide a recommendation or ask for promotion: a cold, aloof boss with whom you have only an impersonal relationship or one that knows you as a person and with whom you have built a warm, trusting relationship?

    Your career advancement will always excel when you have a mutual bond of friendship and appreciation with those who can recommend you. Consider the plug you could receive from a supervisor who knows you as a friend versus one who remains detached and only notices you in terms of your ability to meet deadlines or attain goals.

    When people fully know your skills, strengths, personality, and aspirations, you have promoters who will sing your praises with any opportunity for advancement.

    Final Thoughts

    At the end of the day, it is “who you know” not “what you know.” When you build relationships, you build a pipeline of colleagues, work partners, team members, current bosses, and former bosses who want to help you—who want to see you succeed.

    At its core, every business is a people business. Making a point to take the small but meaningful actions that build the foundation of a good relationship can be instrumental in cultivating better relationships at work.

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    Featured photo credit: Adam Winger via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The American Institute of Stress: 42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics

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