The paradox of strengths, weaknesses and a sustainable career

Fun facts about me, I dance the tango and have been taking belly dance classes for the last two years (thus the embarrassing picture). What does it have to do with sustainable career you may ask?

From my personal experience and when working with clients, it is important to be able to bring your whole self to work. Not just the politically correct parts, or the ones that you view as “appropriate” for the position/title or that fit the job description, but your entire precious self with all your quirks, strengths and weaknesses.

There are two main reasons for this.

Frist, continuously editing out part of ourselves requires a lot of energy. Imagine how much time we spend at work (add the time that we think about work while not physically there) and we have an exhausting task at hand. Not to mention that leaving part of your persona neglected is unhealthy in the long run.

Second, often times we confuse our strengths and weaknesses. What we perceive as our disadvantages may be our most precious gifts in disguise if we learn to appreciate and use them. And our strengths, when overdone, can turn into a curse.

I remember a colleague of mine, a lad quite successful in playing the corporate game, once called me a “strange bird”. Back then, it sounded like a sentence to me. You don’t want to look different in the corporate world. You are expected to fit the box.

In the hind-site, honoring who I was and doing things my way helped me build lasting connections with colleagues, clients and service them well. But at the moment I was not aware of it and was trying to “be someone” I thought I should be at the job.

If you asked me about my strengths as an employee, I would tell you responsibility, reliability and trustworthiness. These things are important to me in life and at work. But untamed externally-oriented “responsibility” can turn into an obligation and neglect towards yourself, your needs and wellbeing. In the end it will not serve you, your family or employer, because all of them want you for the long run.

Your career is a marathon, not a sprint!

I was talking to a friend of mine, who built a successful business, which he attributed to being extremely hard-working. After a while going at that speed became unsustainable, but taking a day off was not in his DNA. So the strength that got him to that place became his curse.

Now back to the belly dance. Of course I would not wear the tangly skirt to a client meeting nor necessarily would I discuss my hobbies, but bringing my feminine, creative aspect may be an appropriate way to honor that part of me and add to a common goal.

What parts of yourself do you feel you continuously edit out or adjust when go to work?

And which of your strengths may be creating trouble for you now?

Taking a moment to reflect on it would give you invaluable information to start moving forward towards a sustainable and enjoyable career. I would love to know. Drop me a line or sign up for a chat with me using the link.



Sveta Parilova is a career and leadership coach who partners up with mid-career professionals to help them get rekindled and renewed about their work/career, so that they feel less stressed and more joyful at work and at home. She is passionate about supporting people in their search for purpose and meaning in their work and life, and is humbled and honored to be part of their journey to a more joyful self. Click here to schedule a Complimentary Discovery Session and learn more!


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Svetlana Parilova
Thrive Network International, LLC