Strength is the Source of Challenge

20150314_152304I arrived in Sydney yesterday and have been reminded of a valuable lesson in my first day. I’m here visiting the global headquarters of Avoka Technologies. As I explained in a previous post, I am the VP Client Services North America at Avoka, and while my team is all in the US, there are many people I work with on a daily or weekly basis here in Australia. The office is in a northern suburb of Sydney called Manly. Sydney is deep into Sydney harbor, which has a lot of mini-peninsulas. This is relevant to the rest of this post, so I have included a map here so you can see what I mean:


I flew in, and took the train to the Sydney wharf, and then took a ferry to Manly. A friend, who lives in the area, met me for lunch and took me on a walking and driving tour around the area that I have circled in red.

I had a great time being shown around and educated on Sydney and Australia. One thing that came up is how difficult it is to get around the Sydney area because of all the waterways. The bridges and tunnels available create a bottleneck for getting across the water, thus making traveling from one place to another more difficult.

What is interesting is that all the water, and how much coastline you get from all the bays and mini-peninsulas, is one of the most alluring and attractive characteristics of the area. There are so many coastline cliffs, peaceful bays, and rocky outcroppings with amazing views:




I come across this all the time – strength is also the source of challenge. My friend mentioned a lesson he learned about this from his dad when his career was early on. When he was having difficulty with some people he was managing, his dad asked him to think about what their greatest strengths were, and helped him see that their greatest strengths were on the other side of the coin to the challenges in working with them. I have found this to also be true as I have worked to make myself better at what I do. Where I need to improve and my biggest strengths are mirrors of each other in important ways.

When looking to overcome any challenge, the first thing I do is look at the strengths available that can be used as resources in rising to the challenge. I take this approach when dealing with issues in organizations, relationships, technology, individuals – anywhere, really. I have noticed the pattern of challenges arising from strength in all of it.

I invite you to consider the relationship between your greatest strengths and your biggest challenges, and see if it is useful.

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