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Week 2 Blogging Challenge: My Greatest Strengths

May 28, 2011

Thanks, Kath, for this week’s timely blogging challenge: my greatest strengths.

I remember being asked at my very first job interview, what I thought were my greatest strengths. I couldn’t answer it well then, I’ve bluffed my way through answering it at many job interviews since, and I still struggle to answer it honestly.

I will stick to strengths that are relevant to the 12WBT and living a healthy life, because you probably don’t need to know that I can spot a spelling error from a mile away, am a nit-picking grammar nazi of a copy-editor, and can sew a nice straight seam on the sewing machine. Or that I make really good coffee and can do multiplication and addition in my head. Just so you know, though, I can do all those things!

1. Endurance and persistence

In school, I always wanted to be really good at a sport. I wasn’t terrible at sport, but I didn’t have an overwhelming talent in any one area. I took up cross-country and longer-distance track running (1500m) because I worked out that most people simply couldn’t be bothered keeping on going; while sprinting relied heavily on natural talent, I could at least make it to interschools in longer distances by showing up at training and just outlasting most others.

Same thing applies now. I’m never going to be at the front of a pack in a running race, but I can just keep on going, burn those calories, run distances that some people think are really awesome, by pure grit. There’s no elegance in my running style, just one foot in front of the other.

Like the story of the hare and the tortoise, I’m quite happy to plod along slowly, as long as I do what I need to do.

2. Not being strong

Sounds silly, yes? I think that when you are very good at something, it can be difficult to help others and empathise with their struggles. In high school, I was a maths whiz. Almost everything we studied just came so easily to me – yes, I was one of those annoying people who could not study hard, and still get good marks (unfortunately this didn’t carry through to university, but that’s another story). Quite often, I would be asked to help friends with the coursework and it just didn’t work! Because it came so easily to me, my explanations of the process were inadequate to them, and we got frustrated with each other.

In some ways, the same applies to fitness, weight loss, and so on. I am ashamed to say that I used to take part in fat-hatred. I always thought it was okay because I “wasn’t saying I hated the PERSON”, but it’s not okay to make fat jokes, poke fun at people for gaining weight, ridicule overweight people struggling to run along the footpath. God, I feel ashamed writing this, and I hope anyone reading who is overweight, has been overweight, and particularly those who have been overweight all their lives, do not hate me for this. I could run, and I was thin, therefore people who weren’t thin and who couldn’t run or were unfit, were obviously lazy and doing something wrong.

You’ll all be pleased to hear I’ve gained bucketloads of empathy since then. Of course, the cynics among you could argue that it’s only because I put on excess weight myself, but I prefer to think it’s just part of growing up. I’ve had struggles with various other issues along the way, and so not being strong (physically, at least. I have become stronger mentally) has made me a much nicer and kinder person. I just wish I hadn’t spent a number of years of my life being an arsehole!

OK, I’m done. I could only come up with two! Guess I’m not that good at this yet.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 5, 2011 1:42 am

    Had to have a giggle as long distance running was also 'my thing' in highschool for the exact same reason! I might not be fast, but I keep going! It also took me 10yrs to get my degree!

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