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I presently manage a fairly sizable budget for a fairly large department of a huge organization. Working with numbers is not my greatest passion, or gift, and I don’t plan to make it my forever career, but I purposefully pursued the opportunity. I thought it would be a good experience and fill in gaps, and it has done both. It’s given me a chance to see how all the pieces of the organization fit together and a perspective on why certain decisions that may not seem to make any sense from the outside are actually the best decisions. More importantly than that, I’ve had a chance to work on something I knew would force me to pay attention because I wouldn’t be doing what came the most naturally to me. Working on something that wasn’t what came the most naturally gave me the most resolve to get it right, and ultimately gave me more confidence.

Popular self-help books such as Strength Finders would disagree. The author argues you should determine your natural strengths and focus your efforts in investing in those versus your weaknesses. I agree in the value of finding your strengths, and it’s common sense to pursue what you’re good at and likely most enjoy, in part due to less frustration because you’re good at it.

But, you likely won’t find your passion in a straight line. You’ll have to take classes you struggle through to finish your degree, you’ll have to take on responsibilities that don’t incorporate your natural gifts to move to the level that does. Work through it.  When building a career, learning how to approach and work through what is not your strength is a necessity and strength in itself.