In March of 2018 I completed writing a book. I began this book, my first, about 17 years before I finished it. Like with most young authors, my mind was wandering, I was distracted and I was not nearly experienced enough to write the book that I ended writing. Among my many faults, I don’t vacation well; allow me to translate: I cannot sit and relax without a distinct purpose. Extending this philosophy to the book I began in 2001, if I am healthy and conscious I am not able to focus on continuing the text I began. Honestly, there were a few times when I needed to be a “good patient” to recover from different surgeries and/or injuries. It wasn’t until I lost the best job I ever had that I gained the focus to complete this book.
Having made great professional strides and learning much about myself as I changed myself for the best throughout my career, I was in the perfect occupational position in 2017. When I lost this job I fell into a depression. If there is a way to measure happiness vs. sorrow, I evaluated myself truthfully and discovered this was the lowest I have reached. Through this process I admitted things about myself; many of which I have written about in previous blogs.
Of the truths I learned of myself is that I am a difficult person to be around especially for an extended basis. I discover that I am easily forgotten but often remembered. As much as this claim sounds like a complaint I assure you that it fits my personality perfectly and I am thoroughly satisfied to carry that mantel.
At job interviews, I am often asked to name three strengths. Some easy options I can truthfully list, as can most people are: hard-working, independent, and creative. Although these three characteristics are honest, they themselves are not all that creative, descriptive, or mindful of who I am. None are original, and frankly, they are boring. Speaking about myself in an affirmative tends to be difficult. I am often more difficult on myself than others find there is responsible for me to be; this trends me toward doing better than what I am currently doing. But it doesn’t point to anything specific regarding the three strengths.
Another question that may be asked during interviews revolves around weaknesses. How does one answer that question? Honestly: I am hard on myself, I am stubborn, and I hold expectations for others (and myself) higher than is acceptable. Likewise, the responses to the strengths, this trio is accurate, but the value in this answer is equally vacant. This points to a truth that I have faced about myself: my independence does not give me the ability to connect within myself to see where I am with accuracy; a distortion to how others see me, to be sure, but certainly a weakness.
As I have been on many interviews I have become ready for these questions. 1. Idealistic: Whether it be looking at the world through rose-colored glasses or being so independent that I allow people not to live up to their word because I will “pick up the slack” in an effort to be successful within myself. 2. Self-reliant: Working late, coming in early, spending many hours daily working, making sure I am prepared and seeking to continue to raise myself higher to bring those around me higher as well. 3. Focused: Planning ahead, having a direction that continues to drive me without distractions. These three characteristics both strengths and weaknesses: 1. Not willing to see the shame in others and continuing to persist when many have failed me. 2. Pushing on beyond what is healthy with little sleep (much is lost to the haze in my mind that covers the colored glasses). 3. Not willing to adjust from a course and accept help from others when the evidence indicates I should do so, or at the very least express how their actions are challenging to me. This is not an exhaustive list of areas in which I need to grow, but this list begins to share several areas in which I have become aware I need improvement.
While finishing my book, I began inspecting myself. I have discovered that I learned these strengths and weaknesses as a way to survive through the events of my life. Having loved ones, family and friends, who I care about and am willing to continue with this trek, improving along the path, and hopefully, I will be remembered.