Whether you’re job searching, updating a CV, reviewing your career options, wish to be more engaged in your current role, or trying to better understand what type of work and environment you will thrive in, it’s really important to understand your strengths.
It’s worth considering the difference between SKILLS and STRENGTHS.
A Skill is something you are good at doing and are successful in using. However, some skills we have learnt to be good at (learned behaviour), but that doesn’t mean we love doing it!
A Strength is something you are good at doing (a skill), enjoy using and feel energised by. You may feel fulfilled when you use it, like the ‘real you’ and that you could use it constantly without becoming tired
- Write down whatever comes to mind – however small or unimportant it might seem.
- Aim for 3 strengths or responses to each question.
- Know that repeating answers are good – this highlights important strengths and themes!
- If your answer is not a strength ask, “What strength could lie underneath this?” or “What qualities helped me achieve this?”
- Wrap-up by looking for common themes and patterns; review your answers and circle re-occurring strengths and themes.
- Then write out what you consider to be the Top 10 Strengths on a separate piece of paper. Refer to this list often!
Getting Started – Make a list for each question:
- What are 3 strengths you can think of right away?
- What are you proud of in your life? What do you like about yourself?
- What do you do better than others?
- What do you enjoy or love doing? (we usually enjoy what we’re good at)
- What small things do you do that you find extremely satisfying? What strengths could this point to? (eg. organizing paperwork, helping people feel welcome, remembering to buy cards/gifts)
What Others Think – Consider how you are seen by others:
- What do you get complimented on? What could be the strengths that lie underneath?
- What would your partner or favourite person in the world say are your Top 3 strengths?
- What would your family say your strengths are? To go deeper, consider each family member in turn.
- What do your friends admire in you? What do you get asked to help with?
- What would your co-workers say are your strong points?
Times You Have Been at Your Best – What lies underneath your success?
- What were your favourite subjects or classes at school? Why? What did you bring to the class?
- When have you felt most energised? What were you doing?
- What have you created and brought into the world? (from childhood to now, anything you’re proud of)
- Consider your various achievements (big & small): What personal traits would you give the credit to?
- What would not be like it is, had you not been part of it? What value did you add? (eg. volunteer or work projects)
Finding the Best in the Worst – What gifts are underneath those tough times?
- Think about when you have stood out and felt uncomfortable: What strengths have you learned to hide?
- Thinking about the worst experiences you have had: What strengths or abilities shine through?
- What challenges have you overcome? What strengths helped you along the way?
- What have you been told “not to be big-headed about”? (this could point to strengths and talents)
- When do you do the opposite of everyone else? What strengths could lie underneath this?
The Unusual and Unexplored – Yearnings, Admiration & More!
- What do you yearn to do? (this suggests possible strengths or talents)
- When have you been criticised for something that is really a strength? (think a parent criticising you for “too much energy/enthusiasm”, teachers criticising you for your “curiosity”)
- What are your unusual or unexpected talents? What does not ‘fit’ or get used in your life?
- What is the strength you have been avoiding?
- What do you admire most in others? Now, where do you already do this in your life?
I hope this activity has given you more clarity about your strengths and how you might want to apply them in your professional life.