There’s something a little uncomfortable about recognising and talking about our strengths. It can feel boastful and big-headed. But if we’re thinking about confidence as a core unshakeable sense of identity and self-belief, it makes sense to not just consider what we are good at, but how we can bring those strengths to the table in all sorts of situations.
It’s also never too early to do this type of work. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to deliver three workshops to Year 8 students in a local high school as part of their Careers Day, tying in themes of resilience and wellbeing to considering what kind of work they might go into in the future. I chose to focus my talks on strengths, and they certainly had an impact. Not just on them.
Watching 12 and 13-year-olds realise that being strategic was going to help them on the rugby pitch this weekend as well as in their chosen career as an engineer, or that being rigorous helps them complete their homework to a high standard as well as being useful when studying to become an accountant, was quite a moving thing to be a part of.
Here are three ways to get you started.
1. Look At Your Achievements
We all have things in our lives that we are proud of, goals that we have reached, or moments that have been recognised. Why not try making a list of these and thinking about the strengths and skills that you needed to make them happen. Can you see any patterns emerging? This might give you a useful insight into what some of your strengths might be.
2. Think Of A Time When…
Have you ever had someone say to you, “Oh you’re really good at this!” or “How do you do that?”
I’ll always think about doing some strengths work with a friend of mine who could recall three separate situations where people had told her how calm she had been in a difficult time.
Again, thinking about a time when others have commented on your strengths, might give you a good hint.
3. Ask For Feedback From Others
Don’t be afraid to ask others what they think your strengths are. But before you do this, think carefully about who you might ask. Choose people you trust to give you honest but kind feedback. Workplace reviews might be a good opportunity to understand more about where others see your strengths sitting and how you might be able to develop those strengths going forward.
Understanding your strengths isn’t about giving yourself an ego boost: it can help you make big decisions about careers and opportunities; it can help you stand out from the crowd and step up in areas where others might not be able to; and it can help you further understand and accept who you are, which is key to being your authentically confident self.
If you would like support exploring your strengths or would like to book a strengths session for a group or team, please get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Main – Photo by João Jesus