Why raising your self-awareness on your signature strengths matters?
No matter what your current career situation and goal is and
‣ you want to climb up the ladder
‣ you want to become a better performer
‣ you would like to find more meaning in your career/job or
‣ you are looking for a new job
it is time to get yourself in the driver’s seat of your own career and life. If you don’t, life will drive you.
We spend roughly one-third of our life at work. That is too much time to feel empty, bored, frustrated, unappreciated, or underpaid.
It is not who you are that holds you back. It is who you believe you are not.
We all have our innate talents. They are already there within us, and they are deriving from our inner needs. They are our naturally recurring pattern of feelings, thoughts, and behavior. They are the source of our positive emotions and feelings, but unfortunately too often they stay overlooked or taken for granted.
To be outstanding in your career, you need to be aware and leverage these core talents and strengths inside you.
Your strengths are your development and growth areas.
Excellence comes from using them.
Empowerment comes from living them.
“Step into the fire
of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you; it will only burn what you are
Recognize and focus on your talents and strengths
Who am I?
What is good about me?
What do I really want?
These are the questions that most people cannot answer with clarity and confidence.
Knowing your innate talents and strengths is a springboard for discovering what you are naturally best at and what you want.
By strengths, we don’t mean just what you are good at. We mean everything you do, all your (mind) habits and patterns that energize, engage, drive, and motivate you to do even more.
Can you now see the connection between strengths and your questions, “What do I want?” and “Who you are?”.
Have you ever noticed that when you are doing what you are good at and you love it then time seems to fly by? And when you have completed the task, you realize that even though you may be physically tired, you are full of inner energy, enthusiasm, and a sense of accomplishment. You can’t wait to do it again. And to do it even better.
In contrast, when you try to force yourself to do or learn what does not come naturally to you, your energy level goes down. You are not able to engage in those activities, and you might feel resistance and frustration.
Research has shown over and over that we are happiest and most self-confident when we are doing things, we are good at and enjoying ourselves while doing them.
At these times, we are using our talents and strengths. When we put energy into them, we usually get a positive result. And that brings satisfaction, feelings of competence, a sense of being good enough.
Similarly, various studies have shown that when we focus on our talents and strengths and intentionally develop them, we grow faster than when (merely) trying to improve our weaknesses.
Most people are not aware of what is good about them.
We all have many small and big accomplishments and joyful moments in our personal and work-related life, but have you ever really questioned yourself what lies behind these success stories?
Was it only good luck, your effort, or maybe some inner power inside you?
Few individuals know or understand who they really are, how unique they are, or how to engage this uniqueness in everyday work and life.
» Do I have any strengths that matter? I don’t know what I am good at. Other people are more capable than I am.” These are typical responses when I ask my clients to name or identify what is good about them. They are able to list their learned skills, but not their talents and strengths.
We all have innate talents and strengths, and they are the source of our positive emotions and feelings, but unfortunately too often they stay overlooked or taken for granted.
And when it comes to improving our lives, we are more inclined to try to improve where we are weak since we are assuming that mastering these areas will provide the greatest growth.
In many societies in early childhood, we are taught and encouraged to work on our weaknesses in order to become stronger and more successful. And it continues in school systems and at workplaces.
Does this sound familiar to you, “You are good at languages, but it would be better for you to focus on math since you need to improve there?” This implies, that when you become a well-rounded figure, you will be good enough.
But this approach inadvertently can bring only mediocrity, and the path to get there is full of frustration, fears, self-doubts, resistance, and procrastination. Strengths, on the other hand, develop infinitely. They are the source of unlimited increasing performance and substantial fulfillment.
The truth is that nobody can be good at everything, but everybody can excel at certain things.
“If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything. « Tom Rath
What if you are good at something but you don’t really enjoy doing it?
If you are good at something, it does not necessarily mean that this is the skill you want to leverage. It is possible to be good at something you don’t enjoy doing or even hate doing, but that is not the type of strength you necessarily want to improve. This is your skill.
When I worked as a recruiter, I was good at assessing people and leading the interviews, but I didn’t really enjoy it. I just couldn’t understand this, because it was clear to me that I enjoyed working with people. Leading the recruitment process implies both aspects – working with people and doing something I was good at.
My deep dive into my strengths allowed me to understand this. The recruitment process didn’t allow me to use my talents and strengths. I get excited and energized when I can build a deeper conversation with people, being able to help them solve their problems, analyze the source of the problem, find commonalities with people. This was the missing puzzle, that led me to be un-fulfilled in the recruitment process. As a recruiter, I wasn’t helping other people resolve their problems or achieve their best version; I was mapping the person in front of me to a vacancy.
One way to identify your strengths is to think about how activities make you feel.
You have to listen to your feelings and emotions that occur during specific activities.
It is not enough to be really good at something. Think of the things that energize and excite you, even if you are still learning them, and you don’t excel at them yet. Those may be the strengths you set out to develop and grow.
When you step into your strengths, you walk toward your excellence.
People thrive and succeed when they focus on what they do best and use their strengths.
Investing in bringing out and growing on who you are at your best, is where your excellence comes to live.
If you play to your strengths, you will have a stronger awareness of who you are and what you are capable of. Your talents and strengths will give you clues to:
Why do I do what I do?
Why do I like certain things?
Where and why am I better at some things than others?
If you play to your strengths, you will have a stronger awareness of who you are and what you are capable of. It will give you a hefty boost to your self-trust and, subsequently, your performance and success will grow.
When you focus on what you naturally do well and develop those talents and strengths further, you release the pressure to excel in all areas.
When you stop comparing yourselves to others and release the need to be like someone else, it frees you to use and develop your unique set of abilities.
The more you know about what makes you truly happy and satisfied, the more you can bring it into your life. And you can define your career success based on what matters most to you and your true career drivers.
Knowing your strengths means you know what activities to engage in that will allow you to shine and thrive.
For instance, if you are looking at career options, you would be able to narrow down specific job scopes based on the things you know you are good at and make you excited.
Gallup analysis reveals that employees who use their strengths at work tend to be more productive because the activities and demands of their job are more intrinsically rewarding, which in turn leads them to work harder.
By leveraging your talents and working on improving them doesn’t mean that you will be niching in that specific area or that you will be narrowing down your opportunities, quite the contrary. It means that you will be achieving stellar results by leveraging your uniqueness.
Let excellence be your brand.
When you have a clear and in-depth understanding of your value, what are your ways of doing things that make you strong and unique, then your self-confidence, motivation, and overall performance will grow.
As you develop and apply your talents and strengths, your achievements will increase, and you will experience more significant and more profound successes.
What is important is to identify where those opportunities exist.