We all have natural talents and abilities. But because they’re not always easy to articulate, you may find yourself stumped when asking yourself “what are my strengths?”
This isn’t surprising, as we tend to focus on our weaknesses. But wouldn’t it make more sense to lean into our strengths and improve those instead? Here’s a great example of this at play:
Imagine a teacher telling parents that their child is doing really well in English, but not in math. The energy goes straight to fixing the weakness at hand. Of course, everyone needs to have a certain level of competency in areas such as math. But in a situation like this, we can put too much emphasis on trying to improve our weak points. As a result, we never get to fully invest in the things we already do well, therefore never developing areas of excellence or expertise.
Starting to make sense, isn’t it? Think of your performance reviews. How much of the conversation is focused on what you do well versus what you need to improve? While some employers are trying to shift towards becoming strengths-based organizations, there’s a lot you can do to be sure you’re approaching your work (and life in general) from a place of strength. There’s only one you and you have a lot to offer. Strengths can help you gain clarity in regards to your career path, interview with more confidence and positively impact your working and nonworking relationships.
So, if you find yourself stumped by the question “what are my strengths?” follow these three steps to gain some clarity on your unique strengths and talents.
1. Identify Your Strengths
While you may have a general sense of what your strengths are, the more specific you can be about them, the better. Ask yourself these questions to get you started:
-What are you great at?
-When you’re working, what gives you the most joy?
-Think of a success story or a time when you were working and firing on all cylinders. What talents and strengths were you utilizing?
I’m not asking about hard skills like software program competence, but areas of strength like creativity, strategic thinking and communication. Make a list and see what really resonates with you. If you need help, try this exercise.
2. Embrace Your Strengths
Thanks to social media, we live in an age where it’s never been easier to constantly compare yourself to others. Wishing you had the strengths or talents possessed by others will never serve you well. It’s critical to understand that lacking in a strength doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same outcome as someone who possesses it. It simply means you will arrive at the destination via an alternate route. Your strengths are unique to you. Not only that, but the way your creativity shows up is different than the way someone else’s does. According to Gallup, the creators of the StrengthsFinder assessment, the likelihood of your top strengths being an exact match to someone else’s is one in 33.4 million! That’s pretty unique if you ask me. So focus on being you, because you’re awesome.
3. Maximize Your Strengths
Once you’ve identified and embraced your strengths, you’re ready to fly. These are your unique talents that should be exercised and expressed. This is how you will shine and others will see you at your best. Take every opportunity to have your strengths support your endeavors. When faced with a problem, trust that your unique strengths will lead you to the solution. The more you learn to trust your strengths and utilize them on a daily basis, the stronger they and you become.
If you’re interested in learning more about your strengths through a Gallup strengths evaluation and coaching session, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.