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Use Your Strengths: 3 Steps to Creating the Outcomes That You Want

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Do you focus more on what you have to “fix” about yourself than finding opportunities to use your strengths?

To prioritize working on your weakness is something taught through all of school, often in our first job and beyond. The cost in this is missing out on your excellence. And that is a great cost to incur.

In this post, career coach and counsellor Sophee Payne shares the importance of strength, and how to leverage your strengths intentionally for success.

Use Your Strengths - 3 Steps to Creating the Outcomes That You Want

The Importance of Using Your Strengths

If you feel like you don’t get to use your strengths, you’re not alone.

Most people say they don’t have a chance to do what they do best every day (only 16% of workers surveyed in 19 countries), according to ADP Research Institute’s 2018 Global Study of Engagement. The good news is you can do something about it.

You can mould your current job into a role that uses your strengths. While some people are in the wrong job, being unsatisfied at work could mean you can try tailoring your job to suit their strengths.

To grow faster, focus on your strengths. Spending time trying to turn yourself into somebody else is usually a huge, often destructive use of your time. For one, your gains in your weakness are typically going to be small incremental improvements at best. How much you need to work on your weaknesses depends on how critical those skills are to your job. If you are a mathematician, calculating numbers with high accuracy is vital. If you switch to teaching history, the skill becomes much less important. 

Strengths are not for anyone to take away from you, or ask you to “tone down.” A strength used in an intentional way can become a weakness, and that is why it is so important to use it for the right reasons. It is important to use it for good. As Marcus Buckingham, author and expert in finding and using strengths, says, “You can never have too much of a strength, you can only use it poorly.”

“You can never have too much of a strength, you can only use it poorly.”

Marcus Buckingham

This begs the question, how do you use your strengths intentionally to create the outcomes that you want?

The first step is to know your true strengths. use the following exercise:

Step 1: Make a List

Create a list of people who know you and you have a personal or professional relationship with. Aim for 10+ respondents, but at least 5.

Step 2: Talk to People

Ask everyone in your life that knows you at work, school or in your personal relationships: 

  • When have you seen me at my best? 
  • What did you see that I did well?

Ask for specific examples that they can walk you through. They can write this response or talk to you over the phone.

Step 3: Summarize

Summarize everyone’s responses. What patterns do you see? What themes emerge from the feedback? What will you do differently now that you know this about yourself?

Take your results with a grain of salt. An activity that you’re good at but drains you is a weakness. Find something that strengthens you in situations you feel drained if those situations are ultimately important to you or your goal.

Conclusion

We too all too often focus on our weaknesses over our strengths. The above steps will help you hone in on how you can start to use your strengths to create more success in your life.

You can also take Gallup’s decades-in-the-making and well-researched StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment, or Buckingham’s StandOut strengths assessment.

If you need support walking through how to use your strengths and how to put that into action for your career, reach out to myself, or one of the other excellent BLCC coaches for a free discovery call!

~ Sophee Payne, Career Coach & Counsellor

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