Fun facts about myself

Meiling Tan, Gallup-Certified StrengthsFinder Coach and Freelance Content Writer based in Singapore

I love long-distance running and currently have a bit of an obsession with parkour. I work crazy long hours as a freelance writer and editor, but also make it a point to play hard and reserve my weekends for my loved ones. I dislike beer, but enjoy the occasional gin & tonic. I appear quiet and reserved at the outset, but love extremely corny jokes and playing pranks on my close friends. I travel quite a bit, but am actually a homebody at heart. I’m a reformed grammar Nazi and recovering perfectionist.

How it all began

Almost a decade ago as a fledgling English teacher, I constantly asked myself one question: “How do I get my kids up to speed with the standards required of them?” But after drilling them endlessly on literacy strategies and seeing little fruit, I realized I was asking the wrong question. Instead, I began to ask: “What would it look like if our culture were designed to draw out, celebrate, and develop the innate strengths of others?” This one question has fundamentally transformed every aspect of my work as a writer, editor, and StrengthsFinder coach.

The common thread

There’s a proverb that goes: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Often, we think that “the way” is a set of standards or principles that we (or others) have to live up to, and somehow we have to fulfill the ideal mapped out for us — even if it goes against our grain.

In reality, “the way” refers to the natural bent or inclination of the child. This means that our job is not to reshape others into what society dictates they must be, but rather to identify their innate wiring and to create an environment in which they can thrive.

This is my goal as a writer, editor, or strengths coach. When I’m writing an article for a business, for instance, I dig until I discover the DNA of that organization. Then, I’ll map out a long-term content strategy that will accurately represent the best of that company and put them on the map in their industry.

The same goes for strengths coaching. Instead of helping others fix their perceived personality flaws and shore up their weaknesses, I believe we are at our best when we grasp who we were designed to be. When this happens, we will no longer chase the approval of others around us, but instead will naturally begin to bring our best to our work and relationships.

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