Discovering & Working to Your StrengthsJanuary 7, 2013
What are you good at? I mean, really good at? It might be a skill, like writing; it may be a more intangible quality, like listening or leading. Whatever it is, each of us has natural strengths.
As 2013 kicks off, I’d like to discuss a key component in executing a satisfying and fulfilling life: Discovering and Working to Your Strengths. Utilize your unique abilities to achieve greater success.
To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness. ~ John Dewey
Discovering & Working to Your Strengths
Identify Your Strengths
To focus on your strengths, you first have to know what they are. In my 30 years as a coach, trainer and HR exec I saw people who failed to recognize and maximize their own talents. Perhaps you aren’t sure of your strengths or haven’t taken a recent inventory. Strengths are things that energize you, that you naturally do well, and that you want to spend time doing. Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, in their book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, suggest the acid test of a strength is something you can see yourself doing repeatedly, happily, and successfully. Write down a list of your strengths.
Sometimes it’s easier for others help us identify our strengths. Think about times when you’ve received compliments. What was it about you they found so positive? Was it your insight into others, your creativity, or resilience? Consider asking three friends or family members what they consider your greatest talents or strengths. Or take an online strength-finder assessments, like these from Gallup and Oprah.
Work to Your Strengths
You probably spend part of your day struggling to complete tasks you aren’t naturally inclined towards, like gathering up courage for a presentation, inputting data into a spreadsheet, or struggling to keep your desk organized. Fighting yourself is exhausting and detracts energy from the things you’re naturally adept at. Simply restructuring a small portion of your day to focus on tasks you can complete efficiently and that give you satisfaction can reap tremendous rewards.
There has been a significant shift in the workplace towards specialized workers with fresh, individualized perspectives and talents to offer. Marketing guru Seth Godin says, “If you’re different somehow and have made yourself unique, people will find you and pay you more.” The bottom line: find your one-of-a-kind strengths, the things you can do in a way no one else can, and live your life accordingly.
- Concentrate on strengths, not weaknesses. For every one quality you consider a natural strength, you can probably think of three that don’t come as easily. Don’t get bogged down on what you can’t do; focus on what you can. Focusing on the positive will make you stronger and happier.
- Look at what you do differently. A great way to pinpoint strengths that are truly unique is to note how you do things differently from others. Moments when you stood out from a crowd provide excellent insight into where your natural talents lie.
- Look at what excites you. While it’s not always the case, many times the things we’re good at are also the things that get us fired up. Think of the things you’re passionate about; often the reason you get excited about something is that it lets you utilize your strengths.
- Ask someone else. We can be blind to our own strengths; sometimes it takes an outside perspective to see where our talents lie. Have you ever had a performance review and been surprised at the comments about your personal and professional strengths? Maybe you don’t think of yourself as a leader, a listener, a communicator, or organizer — but others around you might.
- Use weaknesses as an opportunity for collaboration. Everyone can’t be good at everything. If you’re a creative type who struggles with organization, pair with a meticulous “left-brainer” on projects. If coming up with bold ideas isn’t your strong suit, partner with a visionary looking for someone to execute his/her great ideas. Delegate, outsource, or form a team. Collaboration comes with an added bonus: spending time with someone whose strengths are different from yours is a great opportunity to expand your horizons and learn from their talents.
Focus on the Future …
At Leap Forward Coaching we have a process that will help you uncover and unleash your talents, empowering you to move bravely and boldly towards your best life. We help you overcome obstacles and confront your fears to learn how to lead a more fulfilling, successful, and rewarding life.
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If I have piqued your curiosity about the value of coaching for you or someone you know, please contact me for a complimentary coaching meeting to explore what coaching can do for you. Explore what coaching can do for you!
© 2013, Leap Forward Coaching