It’s human nature to focus more on our weaknesses because we are programmed to be alert to risks in our environment. We end up focusing on what isn’t working, often overshadowing all the positives. But what if you focused on and played to your strengths instead?
I (author Sally Bibb) have recently released The Strength Book, a practical and succinct book aims to revolutionise your life by helping you to identify what exactly makes you happy so that you will make the right choices; decide whether a job, activity or course is right for you; and understand why things seem to flow with some activities and some people, and not others. Knowing these things about yourself, and spending more time on what really energises and fulfills you – your strengths – will ultimately lead to a happier and more successful life.
Have you ever thought about why you are how you are, why certain things excite you and others drain you, even why you thrive on being a free thinking blogger type? Most people don’t really think about these things. But this insight can make a massive difference to your enjoyment, success and confidence.
Let me explain.
We know from neurobiology that we are who we are by the time we’re in our teens. After that we don’t change that much. So, for example, if you love connecting with people chances are that gives you a buzz and you’re good at it. On the other hand, if you’re not competitive but end up in a sales job you are never going to be great at it and it will likely drain you.
Sadly, some people end up drifting into careers they don’t really love and end of trying to make themselves into something they’re not. So, knowing your strengths is really important if you’re to find something you really love. Also, once you know your strengths you can use them more consciously and more often. This means you will be even better at what you do!
What do I mean by a strength? It’s something you’re naturally good at, love doing and energised by. Try this five minute exercise to discover yours: answer these three questions as honestly as you can:
1. What did I do last week that I really love doing and energises me? List as many of the activities you can remember, however short
I had a great call with a new client about a blog post I’m writing for him, he loved some new ideas I’d shown him. I punched the air afterwards!
2. What is it about me that meant I loved those things so much?
I like sharing my creative ideas and seeing my followers excited about them.
I like collaborating to spark new ideas.
I like knowing what the next step will be because it feels like progress is being made.
I like feeling I’m doing a good job and that my creative work is appreciated.
3. Now list all the strengths you used in the above activities and highlight the three that give you the biggest buzz:
I’m good at explaining/communicating/sharing/teaching my ideas.
I energise people and projects, my projects make progress (unless there is a factor outside my control!)
People often feel motivated and excited after talking to me about a project. I inspire people.
I encourage ideas generation – I make ‘two heads are better than one’ happen! People often say, you made me think of something new, or I always feel better/clearer/more on it after a call with you.
I understand quickly what people need/want to showcase online and can make it happen.
I’m good at keeping projects on track because I’m organised and conscientious
If you’re a more visual person, draw this or make a collage with images that fit.
If you’re more auditory, record yourself talking about this or speak to a friend or colleague about it.
If you’re a very physical person imagine three large squares on the ground, each representing one of the three questions. Stand in each square as you answer each question. Then in the third square (the three strengths that give you the biggest buzz), strike a pose that represents the things that give you a great buzz.
In honour of the release, I’m giving away 2 copies of The Strengths Book to 2 Talented Talkers readers! Head over to their Instagram account to find out more!