During the early stages of your career it’s really important to gain valuable work experience. But as you progress, it becomes extremely beneficial to take some time to assess where you are and where you’d like to be. One of the main factors to consider is… what are your strengths and are you using them?
In this blog, we’ll discuss why focusing on identifying and developing your strengths will help you succeed in your career.
What is a Strength?
Of course, you can do lots of things, however possessing the skill to perform a task doesn’t necessarily mean it’s one of your strengths. You might dislike some of the activities you can do and some of them you’ll enjoy immensely. Some you’ll be naturally amazing at and some you’ll remain sadly average!
A strength is an activity that you consistently carry out extremely well, and something that you enjoy and gain satisfaction from. It’s something that you have a talent for, a knowledge of and the skill to carry out. These words are used with the following meaning…
- A talent is something you’re naturally good at and is the real driver of what constitutes a strength as it encourages you to expand your skills and knowledge.
- Skills are knowing the steps to take to achieve an outcome and can be developed through learning and practice.
- Knowledge can be developed through learning, perhaps of an industry, a company, a system or a complex situation.
Why Focus on Your Strengths?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could do something for work that you enjoy and have a natural flair for? Doing work you love and find exciting on a daily basis is key! It fires you up and gives you more motivation to get into work everyday and consistently give a better performance.
It makes sense to focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses as once you know your strengths you can put time and energy into improving them further. Focusing on what you’re good at and getting better at it, will help you become brilliant at what you do. It’s better to get great at something that you have a natural skill for, than to be good at something you struggle with.
Simply – it’ll help propel you forward in your career.
Whilst at school and during employment we’re often encouraged to identify and improve our weaknesses. All improvement is good, however, this approach often puts the focus in the wrong place. How much can you really improve on your weaknesses? Is it worth the investment of your time and money?
Schools or employers rarely encourage you to delve deep into identifying your real strengths. They have other priorities, schools are looking to educate and transfer knowledge and employers are looking to benefit from your skills – the tasks that you carry out well. If you want to determine your strengths you’ll need to take some time to think through it yourself, so here we offer our tips to discover your strengths.
Five Tips to Discover Your Strengths
#1 What do you get excited about?
Which activities light you up when you do them or talk about them? If you’re not sure, try asking some close friends or mentors when they notice you most animated and passionate about something. What is it about each activity that you really enjoy? In yard work, aside from working with horses, you might also enjoy working to deadlines and being able to instantly see what you’ve achieved. Which activities make you forget the time or leave you feeling energised?
#2 What do you do differently?
When using your strengths things come more naturally, the work flows more easily and you’ll develop your own way of working. Think about an average day at work, what sort of tasks do you love to get involved with? Perhaps, you find planning and organisation a breeze or maybe you enjoy problem-solving and do that with ease.
#3 What do people say to you?
Think about your everyday interactions…what do people compliment you on? What do they often ask your advice on? What do they tend to say about you?
#4 What would you do for free?
If money was not a factor, what work would you do for free? Thinking about this will help you realise what you truly love to do! Similarly, if you could do anything at all, again forgetting any limiting factors – what would you want to do?
#5 Read Further
If you’d like to find out more on this subject, read this book, the title speaks for itself!
Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton
Being aware of your strengths and passions will help you to develop your skills and knowledge to build a successful career around the things you love to do and the things you’re great at doing. Good luck!