I took the VIA-SS (strengths survey) a few years ago as part of a life-balance course I was beta-testing. The concept was to have better life balance and more personal fulfillment, a person should try to use one or more character strengths each day.
I realized this week that there were other ways to use this information.
In case you wonder, my top strengths were:
- Hope, optimism and future-mindedness
- Appreciation of beauty and excellence
- Curiosity and interest in the world, love of learning and teaching
- Humor and playfulness
The one that I have been using this week – perhaps to too large a degree – is optimism and future-mindedness.
Not too long ago, we found a number of issues at work that are hard to track down, hard to quantify, and hard to fix. All activities which fall to me to help figure out.
I’ve been feeling really bummed out at work. It’s hard to be a troubleshooter when you’re not naturally predisposed to the work. I have the curiosity, but I dislike looking for problems when I’d rather be solving them. What I’ve found is that when I get really undone by this, I start to procrastinate in new and inventive ways. The ways that I’ve been procrastinating have all been toward building and supporting my strategies for the future, rather than addressing the issues at hand.
I would rather work toward and plan for a successful future than I would try to fix the present.
Fascinating, isn’t it? Well, at least, I’m fascinated. Its an insight I haven’t noticed before. Usually fixing the present is exactly the way to work toward a successful future. Sadly, my work situation has presented me with so many varied and horrible things to unravel, I actually get to choose my own misadventure.
I will eventually have to face the problems at hand and do the work that is needed, but perhaps this idea offers a way to better cope with it?
What if I create alerts that will help signal these problems next time? How can I ensure that the right people are looped in at the right point of work processes to prevent this from happening again? How can the company learn from these situations and understand future changes?
By seeing my troubleshooting and quantifying work as taking positive steps toward the future, maybe I can make the work more palatable?
Better yet, maybe I can learn something new? Can I teach someone what’s going on? This might give me the chance to use more than one strength, bringing the work a little closer to me.
The best case scenario would be for me to see the humor in the situation. Honestly, that’s a long way off.
The psych term for this is work “reframing”, hence the title. I’ll let you know how it works.