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What solving a 1,000 puzzle taught me about my skill set

It is with great pleasure that I can share with you that I’ve finally completed what my household deemed impossible: finally cleared three-quarters of my dining room table of the 1,000-piece Titanic-themed jigsaw puzzle I've been working on the last many weeks. I admittedly had a few challenges: with the exception of the iceberg (and it's reflection in the water), approximately 80% of the puzzle pieces were comprised of midnight blue/black pieces, my cats regularly knocked pieces off the table and I was on a time crunch as I needed my dining room table cleared by the next holiday gathering.

Despite the odds, I dedicated small bits of time to the task and celebrated in small successes (which came in the form of landing a piece or two or eight at a time, filling in a portion of the iceberg, recovering a piece under the rug, etc). One path led to another, one link led to the next. Above all, I enjoyed the journey, which resulted in a successful goal (see cleared dining room table in time to host luncheon). Was the puzzle just an escape, a hobby or passion point? Sure it was. I've always loved puzzles, but I've also always been quite good at solving them and here's why:

Puzzle solving requires patience, analytics, organization, strategic thinking, critical observation, occasional collaboration, problem-solving, resourcefulness, overcoming adversity, a positive, can-do attitude, recognizing individuality and importantly, finding and creating meaningful connections. These highly coveted traits make up many of my natural skills. They are also highly marketable in many fields and industries (in my case, career development guidance).

Take a moment to reflect on what you do, day in and day out and recognize your natural abilities, skills and strengths. Know that what comes naturally to you, others may work doubly hard to simulate. Everyday soft skills like time management, organization, communications, conflict resolution (I'm looking at you, moms with kids!) and team-building are highly marketable and valuable talent to an organization. What's your strong suit?

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