So, twenty years ago when I was hiring staff, my basic criteria was simple. I wanted to know what people were good at, know where they had been successful. It was my assumption that if they knew how to succeed, they could learn to do it in a new place.
And when I looked at their weaknesses, I almost always found that they were just the flip side of their successes. Great beancounters got too picky, great salespeople got too talky, great programmers were often not well socialized and so on. How could I blame them for having both the good and bad parts of a gift?
It was the mediocre that I tended to avoid, the people who weren’t bad at anything but weren’t really good at anything, either.
It has long been my position that one of the key challenges of transpeople is that we are told that our strengths, crossing worlds and seeing past walls, are weaknesses. We are told that we need to conform, not to follow our hearts, and that means we are always fighting ourselves.
Today Oprah had a repeat of an April show with Marcus Buckingham. He is a trainer who believes that focusing on weakness makes us weak and crippled, that focusing on our strengths is the key to success.
He asked about a child who came home with one A grade, two C grades and an F grade. Which is the most important grade, the one that needs the most attention?
Buckingham says that 70% of Americans want to attend to the failure, but that the key is focusing on the A, the excellence. When we feel good and confident and capable and in our own strengths, we can easily pull up the average.
If you want to know what your strength is, you’ve got to pay attention to how you feel.
It feels like focus.
It feels like concentration.
You feel invigorated.
He is right, of course. He speaks a classic wisdom.
If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
Jesus Christ (Gnostic Gospel Of Thomas, Saying 70)
What got you here will get you out of here.
How do we believe that what invigorates and energizes us, what gives us focus and concentration, is what will save us?
How do we face the people who want to revel in our failures and stay in our strengths?