Because real strengths are rarely the ones teachers told your parents about when you were at school.
They don’t have to be the ones your boss refers to in yearly performance reviews either.
Nor the ones you say when asked.
So, what are your real strengths?
Let’s discover it.
Skills vs strengths.
Your teachers back then and your boss now probably referred to your skills instead of your strengths.
And you? Do the test.
– Think about your main skills.
– Now think about your main strengths.
Are you able to discern between skills and strengths?
These terms are defined like this:
- Skill: ability to do something. Or also, each thing a person carries out with dexterity and grace.
- Strength: the quality of being strong.
The definition of skill is clear.
However, take a look at strength.
What does that definition have to do with what strength is understood today for?
Everything, as we’ll now see.
Know your skills.
Think in all those things you’re good at.
You may have acquired skills just for repeating the same action many times, that’s to say, through practice.
This usually happens with athletes that improve their performance through practice. Hours and hours of classes and training where they acquire certain abilities.
It may have also happened to you in your academic or professional areas. You acquired skills to do presentations, to analyze balances or to negotiate with clients and suppliers.
You may also have the so-called innate skills. This refers to everything you have always carried out in a natural way, without needing a special effort.
Going back to the athlete’s example, physique makes them better in certain aspects, such as speed, jump or throw.
In your case, mental calculations, text analysis or connecting with other’s emotions may be innate.
So, are those your strengths? Most surely not, and they don’t have to be.
Discover your real strengths.
Your real strengths are all those activities, that apart from doing them well and skillfully, you enjoy carrying out and fill you with strength, energy and satisfaction.
When you make use of your real strengths, you think time flies, you’re motivated and feel you can and will achieve anything you want.
Going back to the previous definition of strength:
In order to discover your real strengths, simply follow these 4 steps:
- Think of the biggest achievements in your life, those that satisfied you the most and made you feel better.
- For each one, make a list of all the skills you put in practice to achieve them, both technical skills (hard skills) and personal or interpersonal skills (soft skills).
- Once this is done for each achievement, identify and write down all those skills that repeat through your achievements.
- Finally, read this list carefully and point out those skills you really enjoy using, those that make you feel good, motivate you and energize you.
Once these 4 steps are completed, you’ll have discovered your real strengths.
Practice your strengths every day and improve your life.
If your strengths are what make you happy, you’re good at, motivate and satisfy you, apart from being an energy supply, you only need to put them to the test and improve your life.
“The secret of success won’t be found in strengthening our weaknesses but in enhancing our strengths”.David Fischman
And, what can you do to use them?
It depends on every context, the personal situation you’re in each time and your own strengths. In general, it’s meant for you to achieve this:
- In everything you do, try to use at least one of your strengths. It’s easier with the so-called social or interpersonal skills, because everyone more or less interacts with someone on a daily basis.
For example, if your strength is being sociable or collaboration and teamwork, you’ll undoubtedly be able to use them almost continually when interacting with people.
- At least once a day, spend part of your time using one of your technical or personal strengths.
For example, if your strength is critical thinking, problem resolution, or planning and organization, try to set some time apart every day to use them in some activity. If you do it first thing in the morning, it will energize you for the day ahead.
- At least once a week, spend a whole morning or afternoon with one of your technical or mechanical skills.
For example, if your strength is your manual dexterity, spend some time every week doing some handiwork at home, in your car or with a friend This also applies to skills like languages or IT, for example.
- In the long term, it’s essential to redirect your life both personally and professionally, so you can use as many of your strengths as long as you can.
For example, think about things such as which cities, houses or physical spaces, in general, make easier to spend more hours with your strengths, what job would enable you to use most of them, or which social or family environment would make it possible.
Do you want to discover your true strengths and live better?
Always bear in mind that skills and strengths are not the same.
Don’t ask people which are your real strengths and don’t repeat what you were told you were good at.
Look inside yourself and relive your most important life experiences.
Identify what motivates you most, what you enjoy doing, what things you did were most rewarding. Those situations where you thought “it was tough, but it was worth the effort.”
Analyze your daily routine and identify which activities improve your day and energize you.
And, most importantly, use your real strengths on a daily basis.
The more times, the better. The longer, the better.
What if you ever wonder again which are your main skills and strengths?
Try this on yourself or on your team and let me know what you get or what problems you encounter.
Thank you and see you soon,
PS: There is a lot more about weaknesses and strengths that I will reveal in future posts. For example, how to use your strengths to develop your weaknesses. In the meantime, if you liked this post and want to know more, I recommend the book La auténtica felicidad, by Martin E. P. Seligman, about whom you can find much more information here. You’re also welcome to drop us a line. We’ll be thrilled to know from you, answer your questions and tell you everything you want to know.