Powerful Questions Podcast: What are your strengths?
What I observed a lot in the years I worked in HR is that people are often evaluated based on universal criteria that are supposed to be relevant for everyone. And the idea is not completely supid in my opinion – indeed, you should have certain basic skills and attitude to be successful in the workplace. But think about your life in the past: isn't it much more fun to develop in the areas that fall easier to you, than to struggle to overcome your weaknesses?
And research also shows that people who are focusing on developing their strengths are more successful than those who focus on their weaknesses.
So how do you idetify your strengths?
There are several ways. There are a couple of free and paid tests on the internet you could do. They are a good way to start thinking in that direction and to get first ideas.
What I recommend to do, if you realy want to make the best out ouf your strengths and woking with them, is to spend a bit more time with the topic and reflect.
Think for yourself: what are the activities that are easy and natural to you? Important aspect: these should bring some kind of value to you or the world. Eating chocolate might be easy and natural to you but it is not necessarily a strength :)
Ask several people, what they think your strengths are. Or remember for what you received positive feedback in the past? When you get praised for something and it surprises you, it might indicate that somehing that is effortless for you is amazing and valuable to other people.
What do you often help other people with? People aksing you for help shows what you might be good at already.
Which projects or tasks have you spent hours on without getting tired?
What are your hobbies, and what is it that you like about them?
By doing some of these things and answering those questions, you will get a very clear pattern. You might be surprized by what you discover.
What do you do after you have identified your strengths? Try to use them as much as possible in your daily life. Start by identifying the current status: how much time of working in your job or your business are you working with your strengths? Is it 10%? Is it 50% or even 80%? How can you make it more? Often it's not so easy to give up the rest – some things just need to be done. But there are always ways – delegating, outsorcing. If it is not possible at all, maybe you could change your job within your company or work somewhere else. It sounds radical, but what you do in your job is important.
What could also help is to be objective-based. Think about the objectives of your job or what you want to achieve in your business, not about tasks you think you are supposed to be doing. Often, there are miriad of ways to come to the same goal, you just have to find the one that is an ideal fit to your strengts. Added bonus: you'll probably get there faster.
And what to do with your weaknesses? If they are really in the way of you being successfull, work on them, but no more that necessary to make sure they are not blocking you. If you can, work arond them. Good news: you can use your strengths to work around your weaknesses in many cases. You can also find someone else who complements you to compensate for your weaknesses.
Whatever you do: keep your main focus on your strengths!