What Are Your Weaknesses?

Last week I wrote about knowing your core competency and why it’s so important to understand what you are good at. Today, we’re flipping the coin. It’s equally as important to know what you aren’t good at for plenty of reasons – most importantly, so you can give yourself a little grace when you find yourself struggling.

The Journey To Understanding Your Weaknesses

I’m going to start with a little story – in high school, I was one of those people who was pretty good at everything she did. I played sports, sang, did musicals, was in advanced placement classes, joined all the clubs, graduated seventh in my class and got along with mostly everyone. I don’t say this to brag, it was just my reality.

It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that it was only in my high school setting was that going to be the case. I went to a very, very small school and felt comfortable trying new things, or things I wasn’t great at, because I knew everyone involved. I also had a greater chance at being good at something comparatively just because there were less people going out for things. Had I gone to a bigger high school, I would have likely specialized in one thing or not even given it all a chance.

That being said, this situation didn’t exactly set me up for success. Once I went to college and became a small fish in a big pond, I could no longer be the jack-of-all-trades that I was in high school. I went from being above average in most things to just one of the masses. I had to start thinking about these things – what am I really good at? What am I really interested in? What am I really not that great at?

The first time I remember failing, hard, was in an accounting class in college. It was the first time I really struggled at understanding something. It was such a strange moment for me – I thought I was good at everything. I thought being “smart” would just be enough. It wasn’t until long after that class that I felt okay with the struggle and failure. I cannot and will not be good at everything, and only recently can I say I’m okay with that!

My Weaknesses

I struggled with accounting because I’m just not a numbers person. I was confused by this at first because I really, really enjoyed calculus, but looking back I can chalk that up to having an exceptional teacher! In my previous job, a lot of the work required reports and analytics. It was not that I couldn’t do or understand the work, but it took me twice as long to do those things as everyone else around me.

I’m also not great at detail. I’m a big picture type of person, so I’m the person throwing out big ideas in a brainstorm meeting, but when it gets to the nitty gritty about how we are going to accomplish those things, I shy away.

I have other weaknesses as well. I’m not very organized. I get overwhelmed with the thought of organization and putting things in order so usually I just choose not to. I also get incredibly awkward about meeting new people and would rather sit at home than go to a new place.

Weaknesses Are Just Opportunity

The good thing I’ve discovered about my weaknesses is that they are usually someone else’s strength and if you ask for help in understanding things, you are in a perfect opportunity to learn.

I have learned that I have a tendency to just duck and hide instead of facing my weaknesses head on. Because of this, I’ve made it a point this year to be intentional about learning about things I usually suck at! I’ve been reading, taking webinars and asking people I know excel in these areas for better explanations. I also recognize that when numbers or the “nitty gritty” have to get done, I need to truly focus. I know it’s going to take me longer because it doesn’t come naturally to me.

I also recognize that some of my weaknesses come out of insecurity or uncomfortable situations. I have to be intentional about getting uncomfortable, because it’s outside your comfort zone that you truly grow as a person.

By understanding your weaknesses, you are only setting yourself up for success. Not everything will come easily because we are all built differently. Do you know what your weaknesses are?

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What’s Your Core Competency?

Happy Monday! I love that I now look forward to Mondays instead of feeling dread. All weekend long I was thinking about all the work I was looking forward to getting done this week. What a totally different feeling that is!

Since launching my own business, I’ve been watching a ton of Shark Tank. The show is so entertaining, but also inspiring and educational. It breathes fire into my passion of entrepreneurship!

One thing I’ve taken away from the show is that Mark Cuban repeatedly asks the entrepreneurs “What is your core competency?”

I didn’t give much thought to the question at first, but the more I heard him ask, I started to wonder what my core competency was.

I think it’s important to understand what you are really good at, and also understand what things you may struggle with in all facets of life. It helps David and I in our marriage and as parents. It helps you pick a major when you decide to attend college. It helps you in job interviews and in countless other areas of your life.

I think a common misconception is that life is about being great at all things. And of course this is something to strive for, but ultimately, we each have something inside of us that we are just really, naturally great at.

After giving this some thought over the past few weeks, I’ve determined that my core competency is telling stories in a way that attracts people to listen. I’ve been able to develop this skill in my career over the past few years and I’ve realized I’m really good at it.

You might be thinking, storytelling, really? Well, yes. I tend to think there is beauty in a journey. I like to think the bad times make the good times better. I take a topic like “core competencies” and turn them into think pieces. My goal is to tap into your inner workings and relate to something inside of you. I can do that with a story about a patient who has overcome an illness, I can do that while talking about my breastfeeding journey, and I can do that by asking really silly questions that make you think. I’m good at telling stories and getting people to react! That’s my core competency.

So, now, if I’ve done my job correctly, I’ve got you thinking about what your biggest strength is? Is it math and numbers? Is it caring for others? Is it your inter-personal skills? Are you great at thinking of big ideas? Are you a writer and pay attention to the details of the grammar and punctuation that is used? (This is something I need to hone in on!)

No matter who you are, you have a skill that stands above the rest. And the best part is, you probably already know what it is and maybe even use it to your advantage.

My older sister, for instance, has a knack for giving practical advice. She’s always been the most mature person in the room and her vibe gives off a very mothering nature. She is still the person I call for parenting advice, to read over my resume or other important documents. She has a way about her that makes me trust what she has to say and nine times out of ten, I implement her advice. She has taken this strength of hers and used it to her advantage in her career path. She is about to graduate with her doctorate and is going to be a professor. She has taught countless students over the past few years. She’s just a natural at it.

My younger sister is the life of the party. This used to mean that she was the funny one or the most outgoing, but as she’s aged, this skill has become something I depend on in my life. She always knows how to break the ice. She can make uncomfortable situations worthwhile. She has become dependable and trustworthy because of this skill. She has a knack for people and she has used this skill in her career by becoming an executive assistant at one of the biggest companies in the US. Her boss has sang her praises countless times and I’m so proud of her for turning her skill of being “the life of the party” into something constructive and positive!

Another example, my husband. David is a perfectionist, and as much as that term gets a negative connotation, David has flipped that stereotype on its head. When he puts his mind to it, there isn’t a thing he hasn’t been able to perfect in our almost nine years together. He became a blue bet in Jiu Jitsu in under two years. He has caught some of the biggest fish I’ve ever seen. He started tying flies for fly fishing and within months started selling them for real money. He has moved up at jobs he has no business working at, because on paper, he doesn’t have the skill. David’s core competency is perfecting the skill he needs to succeed. It’s an impressive quality to watch from the outside. When the rest of us are busy second-guessing ourselves, David decides he is going to be great at something and then proves himself right.

The point I’m trying to make is that your core competency isn’t necessarily something practical. It doesn’t have to be something tangible or simple like “I’m great at cooking” or “I’m really good at making the bed.” It can be something tangential or theoretical. We all have something inside of us, what’s yours?

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Scout Creative Agency

madewell bellflower ruffle dress

About a month ago, I announced that I was leaving my corporate job to go out on my own. The past few weeks have been spent doing a lot of brainstorming, a lot of networking, and a lot of coding. I’m finally ready to announce that I’ve officially launched Scout Creative Agency!

What is Scout Creative?

Scout Creative is a full service digital marketing agency. I help businesses optimized their digital presence by creating rockstar content and managing social media. I will also be producing video and photography content and consulting on strategy as well.

These are all skills that I’ve developed over the past 10 years working in this industry and I’m confident that my experience will maximize growth for companies I work with.

My bread and butter will be content creation as that’s what I’m most passionate about. I have been producing video and photography for a living for the past 4.5 years, and I’m pretty good at it!

Why ‘Scout’?

For those of you who know me, I have loved the name Scout for a little girl for as long as I remember. When I found out we were having a girl, I begged and begged David to name her Scout, but he wouldn’t budge. I couldn’t change his mind. (That’s okay, because Reese is the perfect name for our little babe.)

So when it came time to name my business, Scout was a natural choice. This company is my third baby (well, fourth cause I’ve got my Juneau, too). I have been and will continue to put my heart and soul into this thing!

What’s next?

Now that I’m officially open for business, I will be taking on clients to help with their digital marketing needs. I’m not limiting myself to the central Virginia area (thanks to the internet, lots can be done remotely from anywhere!)

I already work with several small businesses and am looking for more. If you know of anyone who may need my services, please pass along my information. I can’t wait to see where this thing goes!

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The Perks to Staying Positive

Last week was a doozy.

David left for a work trip on Monday. It was the longest he would be away since he started traveling for work, and I was on mommy duty all week long. On Tuesday I woke up feeling blah. I took a day to rest and woke up Wednesday with a new attitude. I kept Finn home that day because it had snowed and I didn’t feel like driving with two babies.

Later that evening my in-laws came over with dinner and took some of the load off. But after dinner, our power went out from the storm and didn’t come back on until Friday afternoon.

Overwhelmed is an understatement. I packed up the kids and kissed my poor Juneau and we all headed back to my in-laws for a slumber party. (Thank goodness for them!!!) We were initially told our power would be back midday on Thursday, but I waited and waited and waited until another update told us we’d be waiting until Sunday!

We spent Thursday night at my in-laws as well. David was coming back Friday evening and the thought of that gave me some relief. However, the stress of managing two babies, a lonely dog, a cold house, and all that goes with it was starting to get to me.

The good news is, thanks to a kind and understanding lady named Lisa who works for the power company, our electricity returned on Friday afternoon. (The whole story is that I was calling and complaining to the wrong people the whole time. David called and got Lisa on the other end and told her of the entire situation – including the complete loss of my frozen breast milk stash – and she got things to happen! THANK YOU LISA!)

I was never so happy to be home with my entire family in a warm house as I was that Friday. Our internet didn’t return until late Saturday, but that’s another story.

ANYWAY, the point in me telling this story is this – a year ago, I would’ve let this situation gut me. I would’ve sank into a deep, dark hole for weeks feeling sorry for myself. I knew this whole situation was the universe testing me. I promised myself that I would be intentional about my outlook and perspective, and I kept remind myself that things could be worse.

  1. My in-laws are so gracious and let us crash there (and would’ve continued to let us crash there) for as long as we needed.
  2. We were fed, warm, and had a place to sleep.
  3. We have a house, regardless of if the power is on, we actually own a house! And with that comes silly issues like losing your electricity. But we have a house to lose electricity in!
  4. Finn could go to daycare and have slumber parties at his grandparents. He was in heaven!
  5. I’m not pumping much, so I didn’t have to worry about where I would have to plug my pump in to feed Reese.
  6. I’ll be playing catch up with work all week, but everything is back to normal now.

My point is, staying positive and seeing the good in all that happened in spite of a really annoying situation helped me endlessly. I’m realizing that your perspective is truly a choice. You can choose to see the bad or you can choose to see the good.

I always thought I was just a ‘glass half empty’ kind of person, but I don’t want to see things that way. In fact, usually that perspective just makes a shitty situation even more shitty.

So I challenge you to shift your perspective today. Is there something that you’ve been negative about? Is there another way you can look at that situation to make you realize maybe it’s not so bad after all? It’s a game-changer people, and now it’s Monday again and I’m ready to go!

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A Reflection Back On My 30th Year

Wow. I turn 31 today, and that doesn’t scare me nearly as much as I thought it would. Life is good.

I should start by saying that I do not feel 31 in the slightest. My thirties always seemed to be such a far away thought. I don’t feel old enough to be in my thirties, let alone old enough to have a mortgage payment and two children. Don’t get me started on the fact that David and I have been together for nearly nine years and will celebrate four years of marriage this summer. Where is the time going?

This past year has seen some life happen. Last year on this day, David and I were celebrating my 30th birthday in the Bahamas. This year, we have been homeowners for almost a year, have two babies, and I’m in the midst of launching a business.

I aspire to be as honest as possible on this blog. We are truly blessed to be in this place in our life, but this year has been anything but easy.

My pregnancy with Reese hit me hard, emotionally. Last summer was nearly a wash for me. I was struggling with depression, unhappy at work, and was allowing those feelings to swallow me. I was frustrated with myself.

As I look back on those hard days, I try to be grateful for them. I know that the good days are better because of the bad ones.

As I head into this new year, last summer is constantly in the back of my head. I don’t want to feel like that ever again. So I choose to be happy. I choose to be grateful. I choose to make decisions that I know may be difficult, but will be worth it.

It’s true when they say that you feel more grounded in your thirties. Sure, it’s only been a year, but despite the hardships, I feel more confident than ever. I’m excited about this life that David and I have built for ourselves.

So cheers to 31 and to another year of life! I’m so ready to see what this year has in store for me.

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