This has been said before but it can be said again – “work on your strengths and manage your weaknesses (even if it means hiring help in those areas)”
But the question is how does one identify his or her strengths?
Here are a few ways:
If you have your past journals, dust them up and go through them for hints. You record what you care for. Many of your actions that you thought were worth recording might stem from your area of strengths. If you have not journaled, it might be a good idea to start now. Just the act of trying to record something significant in a day will make you do something significant on that day
2. From your notes:
Whether you use a journal or not, I am sure you use notebooks to take notes for your work. Go back to your notes for a few years. When it comes to work, you also record what you need to plus “what you care about.” Really the same logic applies as in #1 above. Between these notes there are hints about your strengths and your interests.
3. Via your mentors:
If you don’t have a mentor, please get one (here are ten reasons to get one) Mentors have one agenda – to make you better than what you are today, give your more capacity than what you have today. With that in the back of their mind, they are always looking at helping your maximize your strengths. You will be amazed at how quickly they can help you identify your strengths.
4. Asking people who care:
I am sure you are surrounded by people that care for you. Pick the ones that are also “competent” in making assessments about strengths and weaknesses and simply ask them. The “competent” part is important as not all the people that care for you are competent in making such assessments of your capability.
5. Watch when you are in flow:
In simple terms, flow is when you lose track of time doing something. Typically you are in “flow” when you are engaged in tasks that are leveraging your strengths. Next time, when you totally lose track of time, stop for a moment and record what exactly you were doing. Keep doing this until you find a pattern to give you clues about your strengths. For more on Flow, please read Mihaly Cziksentmihalyi’s book Flow.
6. Noticing what you notice:
In other words, being more aware. Most of the time, we live our life with “blinders on” and forgetting to notice what we notice and why we notice what we notice. You notice things based on your interests and those interests are typically based on your strengths and likings. Notice what you notice even for a week and you will start noticing your strengths
7. Notice the requests that you get:
The world and the marketplace makes requests off of you. They make these requests mostly based on your “competence” to fulfill those requests effectively. As an example, if they don’t see you as a “good editor” they may not come to you with a request of help to edit something. If they don’t see you as a good presenter, they may not come to you with a request of help to coach them with their next presentation. Take an inventory of requests that you received in the last few weeks and you will start noticing where your strengths are.
Have a great week ahead!
Image Courtesy: Irene Nobrega on Flickr