What do people tell you that you’re good at?


They call them your “strong suits”, areas in which “you’re really strong”.

As a stylist I’ve gotten asked to style parties & events. I’ve done this in the past & the response was affirming. But here’s the truth: It stresses me out. Somehow styling a tablescape feels totally foreign, exhausting & complicated in comparison to styling a person.

I have personal clients from their 20’s through 70’s, petite through plus size, men & women. But I only had one male client over the age of 50 & it took us almost a year to schedule our session. Everyone else’s appointments were on the books right away, but though I loved this client as a person, I was never excited about making our session happen.

Strengths are What Make You Feel Stronger

I might be good at both of those, but according to author & business consultant Marcus Buckingham, it’s not one of my strengths. Marcus is famous for his belief that, “Strengths are what make you feel stronger”. And hallelujah has that given me permission & insight to get clear about how I really want to spend my days!

Most style bloggers I know have what I call The Hustle Gene. We’re hard workers. We’ll make it happen. We’ll make it work. But as a business woman, I’m aware that the only way I’m going to work smarter, more efficiently & eventually grow my business is if I’m not just doing things I’m good at, but things that actually make me feel like a giddy rockstar when I pull them off. The rest, as my finances allow, needs to be delegated. {Note: If you can’t hire someone, think about swapping skills like I hinted at in this post on pitching or here on collaboration.} Or, whenever possible, I just say no.

As women in particular, we have a rough time saying no. We want to be superwoman. Or we want to be in control of every little thing. But life is too short to be doing things out of obligation, or because it never occurred to us that the nagging little feeling in our stomach means, “I’m good at this, but I don’t feel happy doing it”.


Over the next week in your business & blog, start to pay attention to where you can fill in these blanks:

When I do _____ I feel exhausted, overwhelmed, anxious, awkward, unintelligent, annoyed, unsure where to start or keep putting it off.

When I do _____ I feel empowered, energized, delighted, graceful, smart, talented, proud & happy that’s how I spent an hour or my day.

Then comes the hard but thrilling task of deciding how to take those first blanks & make them a smaller piece of your pie. Delegate or delete, or at the very least put it on your calendar to come back in 3 months & see if either of those is an option now. The true definition of superwoman in my book, is someone who knows her superpowers & plays to them.

[Image Source: Shutterstock.com]

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12 Responses

  1. Seppy

    Like you said, even though self-motivation, perseverance and hard-work are so important for a blog, I definitely agree that when you are doing what you are best at, you are enjoying the process no matter how challenging it is, and are more efficient in your work.

    I really liked what you said “your strengths are what make you feel stronger” – so well said!


  2. Jenn Staz

    Good call on this… my parents wanted me to be a mathematician or an engineer and while I was good at math, I hated it and it definitely didn’t make me feel energized or talented.
    I do agree that people should do what makes them feel stronger. But there has to be a balance somewhere. Just because I may feel empowered, energized, etc while singing doesn’t mean I should pursue a career in singing. (I’d fear for people’s ears.)
    The best balance is finding something that you’re decent at, and then have the energy and drive behind it to push your talents beyond your limits and create a successful hobby or career.

    • Hilary Rushford | Dean Street Society

      Jenn, that’s an an excellent point about singing! I think the point is things that other people would define as your strengths AND that make you feel stronger. Whereas math for you had the first, but not the latter. But if other people would not objectively say you’re great at something, but you’re passionate about it — I’d say that’s a hobby or pastime, not a strength. 🙂

      with grace & gumption, Hilary

  3. Z

    This is a fantastic article. I love the filling in the blanks idea – I think that applies to all areas of life, not just business and blogging.

    I have recently realised just how important it is to push yourself beyond the limits of what you think you can achieve. In reality, we know so little about what we are capable of, and we will never learn until we do things that scare us and challenge us.



    • Hilary Rushford | Dean Street Society

      Z, yes it definitely applies to all areas of life! And you’re so right about us being capable of more. I hear from people all the time who want to be running their own businesses like I am, & there’s so much fear. But I’m well aware that I’m not superwoman. I just took action. And therefore I truly believe that others can do, you just have to make the leap to see how strong, creative, resourceful you really are.

      with grace & gumption,

  4. Bree

    Great article, got me thinking! Enjoyed the “fill in the blanks” areas because it really made me focus on the things I do feel strong in. It’s not often that people look at their own strong suits, but it seems constant to have the downfalls pointed out.

    • Hilary Rushford | Dean Street Society

      Bree, that’s such a sad but true point that we can often focus on what we’re NOT fabulous at. But truly I am wowed by people around me all the time & often find myself pointing out remarkable things about them that they’ve just come to accept as second nature. But in reality, not everyone has those strengths & they really are something to be cherished & celebrated.

      with grace & gumption, Hilary

  5. Joshua Williams

    In being a new blogger I find it quite intriguing when coming up with ideas for posts I sometimes get writers block in which I get stuck and have to re-focus my attention and after reading this blog it shows new bloggers in which direction to go into when blogging.

  6. Elena

    What a great post and blog as well! I am new to blogging (www.theamateurexpert.com), and I discovered many challenges on this road. It is never enough just to be able to do one activity even if you are doing it best. Sometimes you cannot avoid doing what you do not quite like. It may be some technical issue that slows you down. You should also learn how to ‘present yourself’, or ‘sell yourself’. Some talented people simply lack entrepreneurial traits and consistency. You can sing but you never practice. You can paint but how many paintings did you produce over the last couple of years? If you are good at something, you may take it for granted. You may think it is always available, and you can get back to it any time. Often those, less talented, who practice more than you, may end up ahead of you. No matter what you do, you have to deal with routine things, that are part of the bigger picture. So, to add to the post, I would say, one should add consistency and hard work to what you are doing. Hard work does not only mean working many hours on what you like, but dealing with things you do not like. Good luck to all bloggers here!

  7. KT

    thanks for the insight. I’m new to blogging and I am still struggling with the niche of my blog because I love fashion, food & travel. When you mentioned about knowing your strength, I immediately think that my strength is fashion or style. This is my passion and I will have an accessories business soon.

    KT ktlifestyle.blogspot.com