While it could be said that this strength is subsumed under Persistence, I believe it is deserving of its own place among the other twenty-four strengths. Wherever people have work to finish or a product to deliver, there is a tension between making it better and getting it done. People with this strength are able to strike a balance between producing high quality work and knowing when things are good enough. A Get-it-out-the-Door person knows when to say, “It’s ready. I could work on this for another five hours (or years), but I’m proud of the state it is in now and I’m ready to get it out the door.”
Let’s look at some of the ten criteria that Peterson and Seligman use in their book Character Strengths and Virtues to see if, in fact, Get-it-out-the-Door measures up.
Distinctive and Stable
Criterion 6 Distinctiveness – Does this character strength collapse into another character strength? Erik Erikson proposed that certain strengths are prerequisites or foundations for other strengths. I believe the strength, Get-it-out-the-Door, is very related to Persistence, sticking to things when they get difficult. However, people may persist too long. Many people finish what they start, but they often take a lifetime to do it and often their works are only recognized posthumously, such as French painter Gauguin. People who possess the strength Get-it-out-the-Door are able to translate their ideas into something tangible in a reasonable period of time. To me, that is a real strength.
Who Has This Strength and Who Doesn’t?
Criterion 9 Selective Absence – Yes, I believe Get-it-out-the-Door is indeed missing from many people. For some, like Van Gogh, their work is only recognized after their death because they didn’t Get-it-out-the Door. In our everyday lives there are people who always talk a good game, but never seem to leave that boring job, start their own business, write that book, or patent that really cool idea. Phrases like “He squandered his talents” or “She has analysis-paralysis” are two other ways we often characterize its absence.
How Is This Strength Encouraged?
Get-it-out-the-Door may not be sexy or lofty, but it is practical and it does pay the bills for many of us. In fact this article is a testament to this strength. Why? Because I had to get this article out-the-door while juggling a business trip, book writing, and family commitments. I must confess there is nothing quite like hitting that “send” button.
I would love to hear who you believe possesses the Get-it-out-Door strength in the business world.
Erikson, E. (1963). Childhood and Society, 2nd edition. New York: Norton.
Peterson, C. & Seligman, M. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. Oxford: Oxford University Press. See page 202.
Out the door – winter scene – courtesy of Hamed Saber
Isaac Asimov — from an article titled Science fiction novelists reveal their daily writing routines by Lauren Davis
Leonardo Da Vinci Helicopter and Lifting Wing sketches from Wikimedia Commons
Out the door to the sky – Puerto al Cielo – courtesy of L*u*z*a*