I once heard a podcast about research that claimed that a bit more than 80% of us don’t use our strengths when it comes to business. That’s a huge number. I think that a part of the problem is that many people don’t know what their real strengths are. Here are three questions you should ask yourself that will help you identify your real strengths, followed by a quick exercise that I always give my clients when we start a business coaching process together.
What Activities Energize and Fulfill You?
One of the first steps in identifying your strengths is to reflect on the activities that energize and fulfill you. Think about the tasks or projects that you find absorbing and engaging, where time seems to fly by effortlessly. These activities often align with your strengths because they tap into your natural talents and abilities. After all, when you are passionate about what you're doing, it's likely that you are utilizing your strengths.When reflecting on this question, consider both your personal and professional experiences.
Are there particular aspects of your job or hobbies that you look forward to and enjoy the most? These moments can provide valuable insights into your strengths. For instance, if you find joy in solving complex problems, your strength may be analytical thinking, which you can definitely use inside and outside of your business. If you enjoy motivating and inspiring others, leadership or interpersonal skills might be among your top strengths. Now think about the feelings associated with these activities. Do you feel a sense of accomplishment, enthusiasm, or pride? If yes, you are definitely in the right direction. Keep in mind that the activity itself may not be your strength, but what it brings out of you.
When Do You Feel Most In Flow?
“Flow" is a concept introduced by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and it refers to a state of deep concentration and effortless involvement in an activity. It's that feeling of being "in the zone" where time seems to stand still, and you are completely absorbed in what you're doing. Identifying when you experience flow can uncover your innate strengths.Reflect on occasions when you've lost track of time because you were so engrossed in a task. What were you doing, and what skills were you utilizing during those moments? Whether it's writing, thinking, creating art, or leading a team, these flow experiences often point to your natural talents.
What Challenges Have You Successfully Overcome?
Your strengths often emerge most prominently when you face challenges. Think about the obstacles you've encountered and overcome throughout your life. What skills and qualities did you rely on to navigate those challenges successfully? Strengths are not only about inherent abilities but also about how you approach and overcome difficulties. Whether it's resilience, creativity, adaptability, or strategic thinking, the skills you honed during challenging times can be indicative of your top strengths. Consider the moments when you not only survived a tough situation but emerged from it stronger and more capable. Perhaps you excelled in a team project despite tight deadlines or demonstrated leadership during a crisis. Maybe you achieved something that everyone thought was impossible.
Now Let’s Talk About Your Friends.
If I will ask your friends, what will they say? Have you ever asked a friend, or a family member what your strengths are? Try it, it is unbelievably useful. They will probably say things you didn’t expect to hear. In addition, listen to the feedback you received from others on how well you excel in a certain area or how effortlessly you handle specific tasks. External observations can provide valuable perspectives on your strengths that you may not have fully recognized yourself.
How I implement this:
When I ask my clients to recognize their strengths, I always ask them to validate the results with their friends. It is a powerful tool that gives you true and honest feedback on your superpowers while giving both you and them a fresh perspective on the reasons for your friendship.
By analyzing the skills and characteristics that helped you win, you can uncover key strengths that are essential to your success. Self-reflection is a powerful tool for uncovering your top strengths and by asking simple questions like these and by honestly answering them, you can easily find some of your strengths and increase your confidence, satisfaction, and success in both your personal and professional endeavors.