How Do You Put Your Strengths to Work?
First, you focus on them. This is by far the most challenging step for nearly everybody. Consider this case study, which describes our common response to weaknesses and the most common outcome. Although most people are inclined to focus on and try to improve their weaknesses — and there’s something to that — focusing on your strengths should take priority ten times out of ten. Your strengths are the areas in which you have the most potential. Your efforts are going to produce the greatest outcome when you focus on your strengths.
Okay, so how do we focus on our strengths? There are lots of things you can do today to get started:
- Give yourself permission to have weaknesses and recognize that you don’t have to be good at everything. It takes all kinds and applying your strengths makes it perfectly acceptable to also have weaknesses.
- Consider reading “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” by Marcus Buckingham; this book offers actionable advice that you can use as a jumping off point.
- Journal words of affirmation that speak to your strengths, like “I am a leader,” “I am kind,” and, “I am potential.” Repeat those words to yourself when you get caught up in your weaknesses.
- Create a personal mission statement that includes applying your strengths and journal that statement every morning. If your strength is leadership, your personal mission statement might be, “To make a difference in the lives of those I lead.” Remind yourself of your mission statement when you lose focus.
- Create an action plan to put your strengths to work. Your action plan might include developing yourself by attending certain courses or obtaining a higher degree, changing careers or employers, giving of yourself to make a difference in the world, becoming a foster parent, etc.