How to Find and Focus on Your Unique Strengths
What’s Your Superpower? Understanding your unique strengths is critical to anyone in job-search mode, negotiations, or just going back to work after a long break. Here are some proven tips on finding your strengths to maximize your potential.
Are you achieving the results you want from everything you do? If not, maybe it’s time to ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you focusing on the right things?
- Is your energy and focus divided? Do you know what your strengths are?
One of the many lessons we have learnt over the years is that focusing on too many things at once will not enable you to achieve your best results. But even more important than that is to ensure that your focus is on what you do best, this is when you will do your best work and get your best results.
As John Maxwell says: “To stay in your strength zone is a priority that will increase your productivity and ability to reach your potential.”
As you work to uncover your own unique strengths, here are few tips to help you identify them.
1. Trial & Error
Many people ‘fall’ into their strength zones through life experiences or trial and error. While more time consuming, this method does allow you to immerse yourself in the experience and gain knowledge by living it. If you ‘try out’ something, you will know within several weeks if it’s not a good fit. You will learn what you like and what you don’t like. If you feel that something is still a ‘trial’ after 90 days, it might be time to move on.
2. Ask a Coach/Mentor
Coaches are a huge advantage for your professional development by sharing not only wisdom of experience but valuable educated outside perspective. A good mentor is someone who is focused on helping you professionally without bias or agenda. Ask your Coach what they consider your strengths are and why. Don’t forget to ask about your opportunities for improvement. Understanding your strengths is important, but so is being aware of any gaps.
3. Personality Tests
Evaluations such as DISC, Myers-Briggs, and the Birkman Method will shed light on your natural inclinations and reveal strengths as well as weaknesses that you weren’t even aware of. It’s a good idea to take a personality test once every 3-5 years. We change and evolve as we mature, learn and experience new things. A personality test is quite helpful in evaluating our traits and understanding our stress responses.
4. Give yourself some space
Identifying what makes you unique is a process, and it’s one that can take time, especially if you’ve spent years doing what you thought you “should” do rather than what truly makes you happy.
Give yourself some time and space to uncover your strengths and make it a daily practice. For the next two weeks, carry a journal and pen with you and set an alarm on your computer or your phone for a few times a day. When the alarm goes off, stop and jot down your response to these questions:
- What have I done so far today that came easily to me and/or gave me energy?
- What activities have felt most draining today?
Notice what patterns you start to see and what you learn about the activities that give you energy vs. those that drain you.
5. Leveraging Your Strengths
Discovering your strengths and unique abilities are only part of the journey. Once you evaluate and understand your personality, areas of excellence and opportunities for improvement – it’s time to create an action plan to put this knowledge to good use. Working in your area of strength is vitally important to for long-term fulfillment and career satisfaction!
Now you will have a better idea of what types of jobs will fit you. For some, this revelation requires a career change, for others – maybe just a slight shift will put them on the right path. Consider what your investment in time and energy needs to be to ensure a successful career journey and create a plan to get there.
6. Maximize Your Potential
Your potential can only be reached when you are armed with the knowledge to develop a plan. It can take some time to find your ‘sweet spot’ and maximize your strengths. But you will be able to not only deliver value more effectively, but be more productive and happy.
Remember that you are always evolving! Make sure you sit down and create an outline of how you will develop yourself based on your goals and strengths. This plan can change by passing time as you mature, learn, experience, grow and evolve as a person. The most impactful thing some one wise once said : “May you always have something to look forward to”. Keep looking forward to every day, every month and every year as a journey with endless possibilities.
You’ve got this!
Please feel free to ask questions, make remarks, or suggest other sources.