What Are Your Strengths? A Key to Understanding Yourself
As I look over my life story, through failures, tears, and struggles, I have learned that I have a few strengths that have helped me navigate the mountains and valleys. Over the years, as I have identified these strengths, I am more dedicated to live in my strengths.
Whether or not you are already familiar with the topic of strengths, I have a challenge for you today. Even before you scroll through the rest of the article, I challenge you to answer one question:
What are your strengths?
Give me your top three to five strengths. Use only one word to describe each if you can.
How To Discover Your Strengths
I’d like to share with you how I discovered my strengths—or more accurately how I am discovering them. It is a process. The more effort you exert thinking on, researching, and growing your strengths, the more empowered you will become.
First, you must understand the process. How long does it take to discover your strengths? There are tests available to help you discover them in about 30 minutes. But that is only the beginning of your journey.
There are two core requirements to discover and constantly refine your strengths. First, write down your strengths and your thoughts and reflections about them. I record these in my Personal Growth Plan. Second, schedule time to review, refine, and reflect on your strengths. My goal is to review this part of my growth plan every week or two.
I have filled about four pages with observations I have made about my strengths over time. This is where I have listed my top five strengths from the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, which I encourage you to take. Mine are: Strategic, Achiever, Learner, Input, and Individualism. Next I have listed strengths that either I have observed personally or others have pointed out to me. For example, my sister recently said, “You’re crazy. But you’re good-crazy.” She was describing what she saw as my risking-taking and bold approach to everything I do.
So to discover your strengths, you must spend time thinking on them, consider taking tests, reflect on what you think they are, and ask others. Then refine, uncover, and discover. Your strengths are areas that come very easily to you. They are areas you may even wonder why others find so difficult. It’s because it’s not their strength; it’s yours. These exercises must be practiced for the rest of your life as part of your growth journey if you truly intend to grow your strengths.
Define Your Strengths In a Few Words
Words are powerful. And fewer words are better than more. My goal is to list my strengths in only a few words. I can remember them better that way, and I can focus on them more clearly. Here are my strengths as I see them today: Thinking, Leading, and Connecting.
I came up with these three words after doing strengths analysis for a few years, and I started seeing trends. I was listing strengths like planning, strategizing, reflecting, and dreaming. And I was looking for a word that summarized all of these: thinking.
If it took paragraphs to summarize my strengths, I could not be as concise about them with myself or with others. The constant repetition prompts me to keep them on my mind daily, look for ways to grow in them, live in areas that place a demand on them, and recognize what areas are not my strengths.
When it comes to your strengths, I encourage you to find them, refine them, then review them. All the time!
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