Scallywag

For ten years Caesar ruled with an iron hand. Then with a wooden foot, and finally with a piece of string.

~ Spike Milligan ~

What Are Your Strengths?

October 17th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 18 secs

Do you know yours?

Do you know yours?

Despite what your grouchy sister says, we all have strengths whether we realize them or not. Even when we feel less than capable, our strengths are persistent, significant, and enduring.

Talk to someone who is desperately lacking in confidence and they will tell you that they don’t have any strengths. But this surely is a distortion, for every one of us has capacities, with leanings toward certain abilities. Whether they are developed or not, they will always be our strong suite.

When it comes to strengths, the scope is amazingly varied. Some people are wonderfully good with their hands, relating to people, explaining ideas,  cleverly designing things, and getting things done mega-efficiently (and that’s before they’ve even got out of bed).

Whatever your particular strengths are, it’s clear that rehearsal amplifies your ability. After all, aptitude thrives on practice.

For example, you might be someone who is so good at organizing, you could parachute into the Congo jungle and coordinate three pygmy tribes to improve their living conditions in less time than it takes to change a light bulb. Yet it still takes a lot of experience and careful training to polish those abilities. At least, that’s the experience of  competent accountants, organized lawyers, efficient personal assistants, and savvy travel agents.

But there’s even more to it than just practice. How we think about our area of strength gives us the stickability to keep at it (even when our best looks more like our worst).

Having the kind of mindset that promotes an “I can and I want to do better” approach makes an enormous difference. Likewise, that small matter of habit force also propels you forward, without you even giving it much thought.

Sometimes, we don’t see our own strengths, even though others clearly do. That’s why it’s great to talk to a friend and close members of your family to verify what some of your “hidden” strengths might be (just remember to skip  your grumpy sister).

Apart from making you more effective, it’s worth giving thought to what you are naturally good at because it helps you target your best. Rather than pouring all your efforts into areas where you feel weakest (which in my case includes, bookkeeping, form filling, and backstroke), it’s much more satisfying to apply yourself where you feel competence and confidence.

If you feel stuck trying to work out what your strengths are or you want to drill down to get a deeper understanding of your particular attitudes, try writing them down. Firstly, consider things that you enjoy doing (as these give clues to your natural aptitudes). Note what others have told you. Then, consider indicators like where you got good marks, a promotion, or found greater recognition, as these areas offer clues to strengths you’ve demonstrated over the long term (even if you might not have known).

By applying yourself in your areas of capability, good outcomes are more likely. You reinforce your confidence and make it easier to see measurable achievement. Plus, your efforts can also help others, both as a role model, and through the benefit of your efforts.

There is always great satisfaction in playing to our strengths. Because a life given to bringing out our best will not only be happier, but also more focused on what we can control.

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