What are your strengths? Yes – what are they? What are you really, really good at? What can you do like no one else can?
Whether you do or don’t know – there is one exercise I highly recommend that you do at least once in your life – or, even better, every time you get to a crossroads in your life and need to figure out where you are going next. Read on to find out what it is…
This exercise was given to me a while back by my own coach, and I found it so useful and transformational that today, I pass it on to my own clients – and to you.
Conduct your own strength survey
Pick 5-10 people you trust – family members, friends, or colleagues. People you have dealings with, who know you reasonably well, and will be benevolently honest with you.
Ask each one of them, separately, to list 10 strengths they think you have, and send them to you.
Then put together all the strengths you get back: Make a picture, list or chart. The one in the title picture is a lovely, creative way of doing it – but I’m sure you will find your own!!
Why owning your strengths is a good thing
Different cultures have different attitudes to people expressing their strengths: Would you agree that in the USA, for example, this is very much encouraged, whereas in the UK, for another example, this may be regarded as boastful? And in many Eastern countries, individual strengths are not emphasised at all – the culture is much more about strong collectives!
However, and wherever you live: In my experience, owning your true strengths – knowing what they are and putting them to good use, without arrogance nor false modesty – will make you happier and more satisfied with your life. You’ll feel more alive for expressing the good stuff in you. And you’ll feel a sense of purpose, too, as more often than not, you’ll be able to help others through doing what you do well.
Using your strength chart
You might have a good understanding of what your strengths are, but receiving other people’s views adds another dimension: Seeing your strengths validated, confirmed, and indeed appreciated by others can be quite a moving experience!
Your strength chart or list can help you to:
- Be more authentic: Your strengths are a vital part of you, and hiding them, or making yourself smaller than you are will not help you feel that you’re being your true self. So if you feel you want to be more authentic, explore your strengths, accept them, and start living them more proactively in your life!
- Nurture your self-esteem and confidence: Read your strength chart often to gradually improve your sense of self-worth. Allow yourself to believe that what others see in you is true. And use your strengths more, and get confirmation of them, for a boost of confidence.
- Address doubts: Remind yourself of your strengths when you’re feeling low or doubtful. Like the sun hiding behind clouds, they’ll still be there – just use your list or chart to reconnect with them.
- Increase your self-awareness: Enjoy the odd surprise when someone mentions a strength you hadn’t quite appreciated or even accepted about yourself. Now what can you do with that newly-discovered aspect?
- Support direction-setting and decisions: Use your strengths to guide you when setting a new direction. And knowing the strengths you can rely on will make you feel more confident about embarking in a new direction, or making an important decision.
Living your strengths more fully
From your strengths list, pick out your Top 5 Strengths, and list them in order of priority. How much are you able, in your current life, to express and live out each of them? Completely? Not at all? Or somewhat? Make a note of this next to them.
Now, for the strengths you’re not living at all, or only somewhat, ask yourself:
What could you do in order to leverage them more for yourself? Use them more consciously in your work, or with your family? Deliberately call on them in difficult situations? Cultivate them as a hobby?
Or perhaps you want to think about making your strengths available to others? Some people create a business based on what they do exceptionally well, when it’s really useful to others. Or they volunteer this in a charitable setting. Or nurture or develop their children, friends or acquaintances in need, or their employees or mentees. What could you do?
Over to you now…
So what are your strengths?
And how are you planning to put them to better use?
As always, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your comments below!
And if you want to work with me in using this exercise to Transform Your Life, here is how you can.
Or email me straight away to arrange your free, no-obligation 30mins Clarity Call.
Title Photo: Pixabay