Aurelia Flores: What Are Your Building Blocks?

As we look toward 2012, and contemplate the visions and goals for our upcoming year, it’s a wonderful time to think about the foundation you’ve already built.

BEFORE you start planning on what you want to add, change or build, think about where you stand right now and what you already have.  Recognize you have a strong base from which to start, and use it to your best advantage.

This is a great time to think about your natural gifts, the skill sets you have built, the way you learn, the activities you enjoy, and your network.

It’s also a good time to think about the natural gifts you lack (that you may need to compensate for), skill sets you don’t have (that you still want to build), and the people you wish you had in your network, but don’t (yet).

The natural gifts you have are characteristics unique to you that you can grow and develop. The skill sets you have can be built upon further, and you can add to your skill base. You can cultivate and build your network, and maintain the good relationships you already have.

Until you take an inventory, it’s hard to know where you stand. But let me give you some practical examples from my own life.

One of my natural gifts (that I’ve learned how to use) is building rapport with others. It’s easy for me to talk to people, put them at ease, and ask questions. I’ve built upon this, and it’s been part of what’s allowed me to build a good network, as well as conduct the multitude of interviews I’ve done.

On the other hand, a natural ability I don’t have is one of organization.  So one of the skill sets I’m always working to build further is that of better organizing files, documents, and so on. You can imagine that as a lawyer I am surrounded by paper and documents. So one of the activities I undertake with some frequency is one of organization, otherwise things can get totally out of control.

Over the past year, one of the skill sets I’ve developed is more knowledge about the inner working of my website, and how certain technical actions take place. This is a skill set that is still pretty new, however, and one I need to build upon.

I’ve been more and more grateful for my network, and the wonderful people I know that have helped me.  I, likewise, make an effort to offer knowledge and introductions to people referred to me by those in my network, while I also refer folks to others in my circle.

So you can see how I started my inventory above.  What about you?  What natural abilities, skill sets, and relationships do you already have?  What do you want to build upon?

Aurelia Flores is Senior Counsel at a Fortune 500 company and former Fulbright Fellow who graduated from Stanford Law School. Her website,, offers stories of success, along with resources and programs focused on Latino empowerment.

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