This year I was responsible for hosting Thanksgiving for my family. And, in an effort to make it easier on me, my mother offered to pay for a pre-made turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies, and pie. Basically, all I was going to have to do is vacuum, set the table, make the green bean casserole, and pick up everything else from the store that morning.
Easy enough. (My Achiever was feeling a little neglected Thanksgiving morning, but I was going to roll with it.)
I figured there’d be some heating things in the oven, but not much more.
9 am Thanksgiving morning I showed up at the store to pick up the Thanksgiving meal. And…it was not as pre-made as I’d been led to believe.
This is what the stuffing looked like when I got it home:
That’s right. My “pre-made” stuffing included a loaf of bread that I was supposed to toast and dice as well as a pack of fresh herbs that I had to remove the stems from.
The veggies, not pictured here, included an actual orange that I was supposed to cut in half and juice myself.
So much for a relaxing morning of heating things up in the oven…(Oh, and the turkey? Needed to be “gently reheated” for three hours. Did I mention everyone was coming over at noon?)
Now, the reason I’m talking about this here is because that’s pretty much how life works, right? You have a plan and that plan does not work out. There will always be something that goes wrong.
At least, that’s how I view the world. I’m #1 Strategic which means that I’m always in every single moment running scenarios in my head of what next. If this happens, what will I do? If that happens, what will I do?
Because I’d never bought a pre-cooked meal before and had this paranoia that the store might be closed that morning even though they were supposed to be open, I actually had a ham, stuffing mix, instant mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce in the cupboard. That’s what Strategic does for me. It plans what to do when things go wrong. And if I haven’t anticipated something, it immediately goes into action to solve the problem and find a way forward.
I’m also #2 Achiever, so when I found myself standing in my kitchen at 9:30 with three meal kits and a turkey that needed to go in the oven, I got to work because “make Thanksgiving meal” was on my list and it was going to get done.
For the next two and half hours I checked each of those tasks off on my list. Toast bread? Check. Juice a frickin’ orange? Check. Cook it in a saucepan with brown sugar, cranberries, and walnuts while laughing at the absurdity of the world? Check.
By the time everyone showed up, it was all good. Everything was done. It tasted good. We had a great time. Problem solved.
Now, not all of us have the same Strengths. For me, since I’m so high Strategic this turned out to just be a funny story to tell. For others it would’ve been more of a challenge and potentially derailed their day.
But that’s where knowing your Strengths can be so powerful. If you know how you’re wired, you can lean into that and get through. Sometimes on your own, sometimes by calling that person in your life who is high Adaptability or high Positivity.
And it’s possible that someone with other Strengths, like high Deliberative, would’ve never found themselves in the situation I did. They would’ve thoroughly researched what they were getting and already known about the meal kits. And they would’ve also probably picked everything up at least a full day in advance.
That’s the great thing about Strengths. No two of us are going to approach a situation the same way. But at the same time we can all succeed. In our own unique way.