I’m amazed at how many people I meet who do not know their personal strengths and how to use them to their best advantage.
If this is you then it might explain why you sometimes find your work hard going or underwhelming. It’s also one of the main reasons why people lose their ‘corporate mojo’ (zest for business life) and their productivity falls off a cliff!
Focusing on strengths isn’t a new idea. When David fought Goliath, he didn’t do it hand-to-hand. If he had, he would have lost. Instead, David defeated Goliath by standing a distance away and throwing stones at him with a slingshot – a strength and skill David had been mastering for years.
Why are Strengths important?
Strengths are personal sources of energy that you can draw upon when the going’s good to help you excel. In challenging times or when under pressure, your strengths boost your confidence, resilience, and resourcefulness. Your strengths can also help you be more authentic, building your unique value in the eyes of your co-workers and clients.
Everyone has unique talents and strengths, but discovering and actively developing them is the real challenge!
Maybe you’ve been told that you’re good at something, but mostly we let our skills go untapped while we wait for the confidence and courage to take action.
There are even some people whose self-esteem is suffering to the point that they truly believe they don’t possess any talents at all! If this is you, please believe that your talents are there, just waiting to be revealed to you!
What is a Strength?
For me, a strength has three parts:
- Strengths do not necessarily relate to what you are good at, but to what energies, enthuses and excites you
- They can provide the greatest opportunity for development and personal growth – research is growing that suggests stretching strengths is more beneficial than developing weaknesses in maintaining career success
- Research also shows increasingly that using our strengths at work is more likely to lead to sustained high performance, confidence and engagement
(Note: For many years conventional wisdom has held that your weaknesses represent your greatest opportunities for development and that you should focus on fixing weaknesses in order to increase your chances of success. Think back to your most recent performance review and your personal development plan – how many items in the plan were there to address weaknesses and how many were designed to help you be world-class at your strengths? Scary, eh?)
How do you develop Strengths?
These tried and true strategies will help you develop your strengths to their full potential:
Perhaps you think that you’re strong in one area, but you aren’t completely sure. This is where you need to look into things that interest you or that you believe you might be good at doing. See what resources are available and what it would take to make the commitment to strengthen your strengths. There are some great tools to help you understand your strengths at work (let me know if you want to find out more?)
Developing your strengths to their full potential won’t occur overnight. To fully develop a talent, you must be patient. Patience is not easy and many of us tend to struggle with it. But if you can be patient, you’ll definitely reap the benefits at the end of the process.
A useful way to think about developing your talents is to consider it as a journey. It may take a while, but you’ll learn a lot along the way.
You’ll make mistakes and celebrate milestones, and by the time you’re done, your strength will be fully developed to the peak of your abilities.
3. Set goals
People are more successful when they set goals. Write down what you’d like to accomplish and what date you’d like to achieve this by. Remember to be realistic and review your goals frequently to keep yourself on track.
Post your goals in places where you’ll see them throughout the day. The refrigerator, bathroom mirror, and your computer monitor are a few ideas. This will not only keep you on track, but it’ll also motivate you to reach these goals as quickly as possible.
4. Believe you can do it
Confidence can be one of your greatest strengths and assets. When trying to improve yourself in any capacity, if you truly believe that you’re able to accomplish anything, you’ve won half the battle.
The battle with your mind is often greater than any challenge you face in reality.
You may have tough days when you’re unsure of yourself, but as long as you get back on track quickly, you’ll build momentum. Remember, you can do this!
Final Thoughts on Developing Your Strengths
Strengthening your strengths may be a daunting and overwhelming journey at times. And, yes, it will take some work. But everything worth anything involves hard work!
It’s important to focus on the big picture and remember the rewards you’ll enjoy once this process is over. Also, ensure that you have the unwavering belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. By possessing these two attributes, you’ll be on the road to success in no time!
Not only should you know your strengths but you should also explore as many opportunities as you can to use your strengths in your day-to-day activities. In so doing, you’ll find that you’ll be in your “sweet” spot more often, blazing through your work, getting stuff done (maybe having fun too?) and giving yourself a sense of achievement and fulfillment at the end of each day.
- Start a conversation about strengths with work colleagues. What are your individual, team and organisational strengths?
- How much do you value your strengths? Which are most important to achieve your goals? How do you use them now? What does it look, sound and feel like when they are at their best? Which would you not give up if you had to choose?
- In what ways can you stretch your strengths to achieve your goals? How can you use your strengths in new and different ways? What skills and knowledge do you need to develop to optimise your strengths?
- ‘So what?’ What action will you take in the next 30 days?
To find out more about how to unleash your strengths at work click here.
Here’s to your success!
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I’m passionate about inspiring people to tap into their unique talents and strengths – to be the best they can be – to fulfill the potential they always knew they had.
If you are interested in performance coaching, try my free 20-minute introductory session. Just respond to this email with your name and what challenges you are having – I’ll then arrange a time and date for us to chat by phone or face-to-face.
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