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Leveraging Your Internal Assets: Discover Your Strengths!
By Beth Silver, Doubet Consuslting
Last month, while sitting with a client discussing her resumé, I realized she forgot one extremely important piece of information: her strengths. She focused on the work that she did and how her experiences could assist her in the future, but she forgot to describe those tasks and projects she could effortlessly handle and enjoy the most.
When I asked her about this quality, she looked at me a bit puzzled. She explained that her strengths were her accomplishments. While achieving large goals is a definite strength, I explained to her how I use or leverage my strengths (strategizing, meeting and connecting people, thinking creatively, communicating, and being responsible) to my advantage. Since understanding my strengths, my life and business have never been so much fun.
Step 1: Be open and positive.
Assessing one’s strengths is one of the most difficult things a person can do. Most of us look at the things that are hard for us to do, not the easy stuff. The easy stuff, which we enjoy, we often take for granted. It’s the hard stuff that we stress and worry over. Note, too, that as we all get older or gain additional experiences, our strengths grow and become stronger. Be positive and open about what you are good at and what you enjoy.
Step 2: Know what’s easy and what’s not.
What things are easy for you and what’s not? Write them down. Understanding what you are good at and enjoy and knowing what is not your strength will help you focus on what you should be doing. For example, I love to help businesses get the word out and promote themselves; however, assisting them with financial projections is something I don’t really like to do myself, so I always recommend professionals who love numbers for that task. By knowing what I can do best and doing it, I can deliver better service to my clients. If I focused on the financial projections all the time, we all would be miserable. 🙂
Step 3: Know your greatest accomplishments.
Think about what you have enjoyed the most and what you accomplished, jotting these achievements down. Create a list of at least ten accomplishments you have enjoyed the most in your life. They can be related to your personal life or your career. They could have happened when you were a child. Now, think about whether these things involved other people or were solitary activities.
If you cannot write this list in one sitting, please don’t fret—this process takes time. Just don’t give up or simply write anything down. Think about it carefully.
Step 4: Look for tools to make strength finding easier.
After reading the book Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton almost two years ago, my eyes truly opened. This book gave me the insight to reevaluate my strengths. I think it’s a great tool and always pass it on to others. In addition to reading this book, I have taken D.I.S.C. and M.B.T.I. assessments to understand my working style and how to interpret others so that I can assist them in maximizing their strengths as well.
Step 5: Envision your strengths addressing your client’s issues.
One of the most difficult things for most people is learning to toot their own horn in a positive, productive way. Instead of boasting about what you are good at, describe what strengths you can offer your clients to solve their problems. Trust me, once you discover your strengths and focus on using them, you will be surprised how more productive you will be when working with your clients.
I have always worked hard, but I must admit that once I started to focus projects on those that leveraged my strengths, I was able to work smarter, be more productive, and give my clients a better deliverable.
Please let me know how your strengths work for you. I will post your responses in next month’s newsletter!
Resources for Leveraging Your Strengths
- Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton (Free Press, 2001)
- Choice Points by Sydney Rice
- Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Testing
- D.I.S.C. Personality Tests [Center for Internal Change] can help employees develop interpersonal skills which allow them to work more effectively as individuals and team members. Doubet is now a certified firm that provides this assessment.