We are starting a new content initiative called The One Thing You Need to Know. Sometimes I’ll be answering the questions you’ve sent to me, other times I’ll just be talking about whatever is on my mind that day.
“I feel that I understand what my strengths are, but what else can I do to not get sidetracked?” – Lisa, from Syracuse, NY.
Knowing your strengths is half the battle. It’s a very important half, but simply knowing what your strengths are without using them makes them utterly useless – you may as well not know them at all. So this question is an excellent one – and since we’ll be covering how to find your strengths in a future episode, let’s dive into how to develop your strengths once you’ve identified them.
Only you know what your strengths are. And honestly, only you really care about what your strengths are. No one is going to develop them for you, because they’re too busy worrying about their own work. And that’s okay, because there are two things you can do to create a strengths-based approach to your work, and your life.
The first step is to stay focused. You know what your strengths are, but do you know how often you’re using them? Find a weekly ritual where you look at the week behind you and take inventory of how well you used your strengths that week. Where could you have done better? What did you hate doing, and could that have been avoided? Then look to the week ahead of you. How will you use your strengths in the future? Are there any areas of weakness that you can mitigate, or avoid altogether?
Second, if you find yourself being sidetracked by people asking you to do things that aren’t areas of strength for you, make them a part of the solution: offer up your strengths to them. So many people are looking for someone exactly like you, because your strengths are someone else’s weaknesses. Volunteer your strengths to them – you will be happily surprised at how quickly people will take you up on your offer.
Have you identified your strengths? Do you have a weekly ritual where you take inventory of how well you’ve used them?