Copy of Your Strengths
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.
When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger
Knowing our strengths and weaknesses are a key to taking action and achieving our goals.
By knowing ourselves, warts and all, we know how to harness our strengths, how to fill the gaps with our weaknesses, and focus on the steps to move us forward.
Strengths are our personal characteristics that allow us to perform well or at our personal best.
They are what we harness resourcefully during challenging times in our lives. They also help us focus on opportunities that come our way. We know what we are good at and we have great self trust in those internal resources.
Understanding our weaknesses are just as important. By knowing the gaps in our personal resources, we know what support we need in our areas of focus, thereby turning our weaknesses into strengths. We are taking responsibility for all parts of our lives.
Your strengths are those things that you find easy to learn and do. They have been developed through a long period of effort and focus. You become more proficient at these skills than others.
They are often a result of what we develop interests in early in life. Which in turn influences our thinking and behaviour, our attitudes and standards, our values. As we gain experience we begin to further develop our strengths. Also, as children we are influenced by our families’ strengths – simply because we have awareness of the tasks or activities they are undertaking.
You become aware of what you are watching and learning subconsciously. As an adult you may have a ‘natural talent’ in some areas – but these are actually a result of your interests and observations as a child.
These become your superpowers.
Your Personal SWOT Analysis
In business, we regularly use a SWOT analysis to assess our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
As like in business, for us personally, we can use a SWOT analysis to understand and play to our strengths, fill the gap in our weaknesses, become aware and take advantage of opportunities, and derisk our threats.
By clearly understanding your strengths, you:
- will naturally focus on the right things that have the biggest impact on your life;
- will save time by focusing on things that will bring you the greatest returns;
- become more resourceful and therefore make better decisions every single day;
- put yourself in a position to raise your standards and therefore improve your results;
- can contribute more value to others and to the world around you; and
- will naturally improve your levels of self-confidence because all of a sudden there is more certainly in your life.
Knowing your strengths will ensure, when you have set your life goals, you will be able to make smarter choices and decisions about the path you will take to get there.
When you clearly understand what your weaknesses are, you will derive the following benefits. You can:
- focus on spending your time on areas that bring you most confidence and self-assurance;
- can delegate tasks and projects to people that are more proficient in getting them done; and
- can dramatically reduce your levels of stress, anxiety, overwhelm and frustration by focusing on just the things you are naturally good at.
Knowing your weaknesses means you have control over how you fill the gaps – it’s your choice. You can be empowered by this knowledge, rather than feeling helpless which has the ripple effect of impacting your motivation in achieving our goals.
Once we know what our strengths and weaknesses are, we will be energised and empowered, directly impacting greater self-esteem, happiness and positivity. We have no excuses in taking action.
We can then understand our opportunities and threats, and how all four quadrants of your SWOT analysis impact each other.
Step 1 – Assessing Your Personal Strengths
It is sometimes hard to think of these off the top of our heads because strengths can come naturally to us so we don’t notice them, or we focus only on one aspect or even we don’t thing we have any strengths. For this reason, psychologists have developed questionnaires to help us.
One of the most widely used strength questionnaires was developed by two of the founders of positive psychology, Dr Martin Seligman and Dr Chris Peterson.
Their research identified 24 character strengths that were universally valued across cultures. Of course there are more possible strengths than 24, but it’s a good place to start exploring what your strengths are.
So, please take the VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire now (https://www.viacharacter.org/survey). It’s free and takes about 30 minutes to do. Make sure you answer the questions as you really are, not how you think you should be. Note: The free version gives you a short feedback report showing the rank order of your VIA character strengths. This is enough to get you thinking.
Step 2- Review Your Strengths
Have a look at the list – you will see all 24 are included, but the top five might be considered your personal blend of ‘signature strengths’. Note: the bottom of the list are not necessarily weaknesses, they are just for you not as strong characteristics as the top of the list.
These may be areas you may consider strengthening over time if they are important to achieving your goals.
Have a look at each of your top 5 in turn and ask yourself:
- Do I feel naturally drawn to this strength?
- Is this the real me?
- Do I feel excited and energised by it?
- Do I feel surprised by it?
- How much do I use this strength currently – at work, at home, in my hobbies, in my community?
- Would others see this in me? (Why not ask them?!)
If you don’t feel that one of these strengths is the real you, then look at numbers 6, 7 or 8 on the list and ask the same questions. Get to a list of 5 that you feel really are ‘you’ – that energise you.
Step 3 – Use Your Strengths
Pick one of your top 5. Ask yourself:
- How do I use this already?
- In what areas of my life do I use it?
- What are other areas in my life where I could use it more?
- What are other ways I could use it?
Every day over the next week, try to use this strength in a new way or area of your life. Repeat this the following week using another of your top five. And so on.
Now assess your weaknesses or gaps – because these will be what are the barriers to your success- the things that seem difficult to learn and difficult to do. They will be uncomfortable and challenging. But that’s normal. These will be areas of life you have little if any experience. But think back – you have learned countless new things over your life.
OCEAN- The Big 5 Personality Test
The Big Five Personality Test is by far the most scientifically validated and reliable psychological model to measure personality.
This test is used world wide to assess and place employees into the right roles. This is because these dimensions are considered to be the underlying traits that make up an individual’s overall personality.
Extensive research conducted has confirmed that personality represents the most significant predictors of life satisfaction. It is thought that some people are more likely to be happier due to their personality.
An increase in life satisfaction and happiness directly impacts results and success in all parts of your life.
Your personality is directly influenced by both nature and nurture, and therefore these play a role in your OCEAN score, and stays relatively consistent throughout your life.
Let’s do another exercise together.
Please download the workbook and let’s start to reflect on your strengths and BIG 5 score.