Your strengths are your greatest asset in your career and your life.
They are the key characteristics that make you the most capable in any area of life, particularly the areas that you excel at.
On a basic level your strengths are the things you do well. That could be selling, writing, speaking, teaching or anything really.
On a deeper level, strengths are where you knowledge, skills and attitude combine to produce you best performance.
It is the mix of these attributes, when consistently developed and extended, that can lead you to the highest level of personal and professional excellence.
Donald O’Clifton, in his book, Play to Your Strengths: Focus on What You Do Best and Success Will Follow , suggests that there are 5 characteristics that can help you identify a personal strengths:
1. You have a yearning to apply it: A strength will normally not be denied, you will feel a craving to do something that exploits your strength, so listen to that yearning.
2. It satisfies you: When you have applied your strength and (naturally) you have succeeded in the the task there will be psychological and emotional contentment; a satisfaction. Take note of those emotions and feelings as they arise when you have applied a strength.
3. You learn things in a strength areas quickly: If you catch on to a new skill or concept quickly then it is likely to be because it is aligned to a strength. What do you pick up quickly?
4. You have glimpses of excellence or even brilliance: When you are busy on a project or task and you see moments when then you are likely to be employing a strength.
5. You become immersed in the task: A strength well used will leave you completed engaged in the task. In this book (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience ), Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes this state as being in Flow. You are totally engrossed and have no conscious steps in the activity you are performing.
This is a very introspective method of identifying your strengths and does require time effort and thought.
The problem is, of course that time is so hard to find in our modern lives.
However, Marcus Buckingham has reduced the time required to find your strengths by providing a book and online questionnaire. His book, (Now, Discover Your Strengths: How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage ) outlines the 34 strengths identified by the Gallop organisation and provides a website code to have your own strengths identified.
Take the time to find your strengths and then employ them as frequently as you can to grow both the scale of your strengths and the level of your success.
Dare to Aspire