Strength Clues

“So, tell me about your strengths.”

Oh, the dreaded interview question. It can be extremely hard to see your own strengths.

However, awareness of your strengths can lead to higher productivity and satisfaction, making it a valuable piece of knowledge.

Note that strengths are different from skills. For example, I’m pretty good at bookkeeping, but it’s not my strength. It’s just a skill I’ve learned.

Your strengths are about character. It’s what you bring to the party. When you are operating from your strengths, it feels natural and energizing to you. (Further evidence that bookkeeping is not my strength!)

While there are many strengths tests out there in the interwebs, some studies show that self-assessment tests are often flawed.

Instead, try the following reflection tools to help identify your strengths.

Three Reflection Exercises

  1. Reflection through admiration. Who do you admire?

What are the strengths of the people you admire? Which ones deeply resonate with you? Identify what strengths move you most about each person. Resonance is like a tuning fork. What you see in others can only resonate deeply with you, if it is already within you.

For example, I deeply admire Mahatma Gandhi. I admire his leadership, vision, passion for peace, and activism. But, what resonates most deeply with me is his internal fortitude – a clue to my strengths profile.

  1. Self-reflection through energy. What energizes you?

Strengths make you feel strong. They come naturally and energize you. Journal about the times you felt strong, energized and most yourself. What were you doing? Giving a presentation? Problem-solving? Making someone’s day?

I can’t read non-fiction before going to bed. It’s far to energizing for me to go to sleep afterward! Learning comes naturally for me and is definitely energizing. Both signs that this is a strength.

  1. Reflection through others. What do others say about you?

Perhaps you often hear people say you’re a great connector, listener, or teacher. Or, they describe you as the life of the party, generous, or deeply caring.

What do you often hear people say about you? For more, ask the people around you to share a story about when they have seen you at your best. Find the commonalities around these stories for strength clues.

Build Your Strengths Profile

Through these reflection exercises, you can tease out the common threads and piece together your strengths profile. See if you can identify your top five.

But, don’t stop there! Brainstorm ways you can incorporate more of your strengths further into your life and business. Leveraging your strengths will not only improve your performance but studies show it will also increase your happiness.