You might have heard of the advice, to work on your weakness or encountered the dreadful interview question asking you to describe your strengths and weakness. Although accepting and recognising your weakness is generally a good idea, what if you could identify your strengths instead? By identifying your strengths and looking for ways in which you could apply them could be more beneficial.
This is because strengths are characteristics in which we already have or display in all of us. And utilising them requires less effort and time than trying to fix a weakness. Although strengths and weakness differ amongst individuals, in this post, I would be writing on ways in which you can identify your strengths
What are Strengths and Weaknesses?
Strengths, just like weakness, should not be classified as a positive or negative trait but rather, something which strengthens you. Something that you would look forward to doing. For example, I enjoy writing articles and look forward to sharing them with everyone. This activity leaves me feeling energised rather than drained after completing it. Weakness is the total opposite of Strengths in which they leave us feeling drained and are activities that we loathe to do.
Investing in your Strengths
“Invest in your strengths. You will grow the most in areas where you are already strong.”
Instead of categorising ourselves on what we lack, we should instead characterise ourselves on our strengths. The strengths that already define who we are. To begin investing in your strength, firstly, you would need to identify them. Identifying strengths allows us to understand ourselves further and to seek ways to apply them in our daily lives.
How does one Identify their Strengths?
By using the SIGN technique, which consists of (Success, Instinct, Growth and Need as mentioned by Marcus Buckingham). It allows us to notice activities that check the following:
- Success: A feeling of achievement or accomplishment in which you feel in control of.
- Instinct: Anticipating and looking forward to doing that particular activity.
- Growth: A sense of learning and growing within the activity. Or a state of flow. In which time seems to zoom past when you are fully immersed in the said activity.
- Need: how do you feel once the need to complete the activity is done.
Learn to keep track of everyday activities
Every day, we are exposed to hundreds of different stimuli, and as each passing day goes by, we tend to forget a little of the past. However, by developing a habit in tracking what you enjoyed and hated in everyday activities would help you learn a little more about your strengths. You can begin by reflecting on the events done today, yesterday, the past week or every month. This allows you to have a sense of the type of work you enjoy.
Over time, take an hour or a day off the week to reflect and review your tracking list. By then, hopefully, you would have a better perspective on activities that energises or drains you.
While we’re on the subject of identifying our strengths, we can also take this time to learn about ourselves. Simple questions such as:
- What do you enjoy doing the most?
- What kind of activities leave you feeling weak, drained or bored?
- What matters to you the most?
- What motivates you?
- Framing the future, In five years, what do you want to become or work on?
Action Plan and ways to support your goals
Create an action plan based on what you discovered or noticed about your strengths and yourself.
- What types of projects do you want to work on?
- What don’t you mind doing?
- Which tasks do you look forward to doing?
- Which tasks do you avoid altogether or procrastinate on?
Additionally, depending on if you plan to apply your strengths at work or out of work, some ways in which you can grow to support your goals include:
- On the job growth by taking up new projects and responsibilities
- Mentorship programs
- External education and courses
Lastly, it is essential to note that strengths by itself, does not only come from activities or work alone. They can also come from how you approach whatever work you do.