Everyone has them, and everyone is unique in the strengths, talent, knowledge and skills they have that help them to do what they do best every day. The key is to uncover these strengths, and spend some considered and deliberate development time focussing on how best these can serve you in your current and future aspirations both inside and outside of work. Strengths open up our greatest opportunity for success and enable us to work smarter and more productively, helping us to maintain a better balance between work and our outside work interests.
59% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Learning about my strengths has helped me to make better choices in my life”. Hodges, T.D. (2003)
A great first step is to explore your own strengths; this can be done through using an online questionnaire Strengthscope® or alternatively just by asking yourself a few simple questions 1) What gives you most energy? 2) When was the last time you were in flow and loving what you were doing? 3)What drains your energy?
This will help you to explore where you get your greatest energy and what or who drains your energy. However, it won’t necessarily be an indicator for how successful you are in these areas. Take the common example of the less successful X-factor auditions, passionate energised individuals full of self-belief only to be heard through the ears of the judges for lacking any real singing talent. What can we learn from this apart from to never audition for the X-factor for fear of mockery? Well what I’ve learnt is that self-reflection and feedback are critical to help you gauge how effective you are in truly using your strengths. So seek feedback from loved ones and colleagues 1) What strengths do I have that I could strengthen? 2) What weaknesses could I improve on?
Strengths in action
Now you’ve spotted your strengths and received the appropriate feedback as to whether you are effective in using them or not, it’s time to put them into action. These are the qualities that bring you the most energy and therefore thinking through how best you can use these in your role at work, and at home is going to be the key to an energised you. A few tips on how best to put your strengths into action:
- Find ways to apply your strengths by setting challenging “stretch” goals for yourself
- Learning new knowledge and skills in areas of strengths both inside and outside of work
- Can you find ways to take on challenging projects?
- What opportunities do you have to coach and train others in areas of strengths for you?
- What new or different ways could you think of using your strengths?
- And could you use your strengths in different combinations?
Watch out for your watch outs
It’s also important to remember that our greatest strength can also be our greatest risk. Our strengths can go into overdrive which is where “we use our strength too much or we don’t match our strengths to the situation which leads to an unintended impact”. So consider the following questions 1) Which of your strengths have a habit of impacting your work/life balance? 2) which ones are the greatest risk to your success in your current situation? 3) Which strengths do you have or do others have that can support you in overcoming these risks?
Find more motivation and energy in your work and home life by uncovering your strengths, tapping into your skills and knowledge and focusing on areas that will engage your strengths and areas of interest. None of us are finished products and naturally there will always be more skills to pick up and learn along the way, but by starting in a place where you’re engaging your interests and strengths, you’ll be motivated and happier to push yourself forward.