Finding your strengths.

Once I remember telling a fellow industry professional that I loved to connect people and aspired to be a resource for photographers and wedding couples a-like. Certainly concerned with the time and energy and potential disadvantages such a personality trait entails as a small business owner, the listening party replied along the lines of "Oh no Ashley, you never want to be a resource [for clients]..." A little alarmed, I assumed they spoke from personal experience and although I potentially could have been impressionable, I knew this desire was too deeply embedded in my heart to become erased by the contrary advice of others. Throughout years in creative fields I have found a few things certain: as the saying goes, opinions are like...what?.... you get the picture, and as much as it's helpful to hear the trial and error of other professionals, learning from their mistakes and triumphing over weaknesses, it's MOST important to find your own way, take the advice that works for you leaving the rest, and utilize your personal strengths--not those of others.

For instance--I am the worst at packaging. Like, the worst. I can come up with ideas of how I want to present pretty wedding prints but when it comes to execution, it's often a disaster. So if I get the chance I simply pay someone to do it...otherwise those fabric boxes that could have been perfectly D.I.Y-ed looked more like something D.I.E-d. This is not my strength. I'd like to pretend, but who'd I be kidding? Same goes for laundry, although that'd be ridiculous to get someone in here just to wash piles of yoga pants and risk my secret being out that I don't really do yoga in them anyway, so I begrudgingly wash and fold about once a month. There are a few things I recognized in myself from an early age that I'm just fabulous at: like talking (could be parlayed into Speaking...but for now, it's talkin'), encouraging others, and biscuits and gravy. Is that a strength? YOU BETCHA.

Hearing rave reviews I purchased a kindle version of Strengths Finder 2.0 and after 4 phone calls to Amazon and 3 impatient days waiting for an activation code finally got to quizzing. My strengths were listed as Input, Activator, Connectedness, Developer (see, I can DEVELOP just not always DO) and Positivity. I felt strongly about all attributes, mainly Input, described as " have a craving to know more..often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information". Bingo. That's me. And exactly what propels me to be a resource for the people around me. Why ELSE would I store all these ideas, websites and concepts in my brain if not to share with others who may one day need them.

And so it was confirmed: don't let other people decide your ideals for you. And the Strengths Finder Test is spot on.

It doesn't matter what "they" do, Ashley. Your net worth, net health, and net happiness all hinge exclusively upon your net thoughts, net words, and net deeds. Though little can rob you as quickly as thinking that it matters what "they" do.  You've got the power {Snap to fade out} -     --(email this morning from 'The Universe')