A friend, Sam, and I were chatting over the weekend about a strength we share that has caused us both a great deal of anxiety in our younger lives.
That strength is conscientiousness.
We’ve both always been hard workers and sometimes cared so much about whatever it was we were working on that we wore ourselves out. Sam told me that she’d always felt rather negative about being conscientious and had seen it as a weakness. As for me, I’d been criticised for ‘over-working’ when I was younger, until I learnt to hide how much I worked.
Suffice to say, neither of us liked the label ‘conscientious’ until we realised it’s actually a strength. The negativity we had felt was when we overdid this strength and it flipped into the ‘overdone strengths’ zone, thus becoming a weakness and causing us (and sometimes other people) problems.
Conscientious is clearly a very positive thing to be! Sam and I both run our own businesses. Part of the reason for our success is that we do what it takes to deliver high quality work for our clients, we go the extra mile and we always do what we promise.
The important thing for us both is to remember what a valuable strength conscientiousness is and build in strategies, like not taking on too much work or pausing to conserve or replenish our energy when working, so that we don’t overdo that strength.
I love having conversations like this as they remind me of the value of writing the books I’ve written on strengths.
If you’d like to delve deeper into your own strengths, you may be interested in my latest book, The Strengths Workbook: An Eight-week Programme to Discover Your Strengths and What Makes You Thrive.