Every time you’re wondering what to do next in life, one of the first things you’re told is to work out your strengths and weaknesses. So what if you have no idea how to do that? What if this is the first time you’ve had to evaluate what you’re good at, as opposed to what you like?
“The most effective way to identify your strengths is to ask other people,” says Executive Coach and Career Mentor, Kate Richardson, “We often have blind spots where our strengths are concerned so it pays to get some perspective from people that know us in different contexts – colleagues, teachers, friends and family.”
It may also help you to describe yourself and your abilities in a unique way, to stand out in your job applications. It’ll also help you refocus what you think a ‘strength’ is.
“Most people think a strength is something you’re really good at,” explains Kate, “But you can be good at things you don’t enjoy doing, so it’s more helpful to define your strengths as the things that energise you. What do you really enjoy doing? When do you feel inflow and at your most confident?”
Once you’ve got strengths and weaknesses worked out, what do you do with them? Should we be putting more energy into improving on areas we’re not so great at? Or should we forget about those and focus purely on making our strengths even stronger?
In fantastic news, Kate reckons there’s no need to slog around on weaknesses.
“We’re often told we should work on our weaknesses but the research suggests you’ll be happier, more satisfied and more successful if you pay most attention to your strengths,” she says.
“Marcus Buckingham, effectively the godfather of Strengths, points to the fact that if you focus on your weaknesses you’ll grow incrementally, while if you focus on your strengths you’ll grow exponentially.”
“Essentially, if you invest more in the things that energise you, you’ll be more motivated to practise and keep improving.”