A Better Way to Discover Your Strengths

Posted on July 20, 2013

If you want to excel at anything, it’s not enough to fix your weaknesses. You also need to leverage your strengths. When Albert Einstein failed a French exam, if he had concentrated only on his language skills, he might never have transformed physics. When J.K. Rowling realized that she was highly disorganized, if she had focused solely on becoming more orderly, she might never have honed her storytelling skills to write Harry Potter. And had Dennis Rodman worked exclusively on overcoming his weakness in shooting free throws, he might have never become a seven-time NBA rebounding champion.

Before you can leverage your strengths, you need to figure out what they are. To identify their unique capabilities, millions of people have taken self-assessments like Gallup’s StrengthsFinder. After filling out a survey about what you do best, you get to read a report on your top talents.

If you want to recognize your strengths, you need other people to hold up a mirror. When you see your reflection through the eyes of those who know you well, you can begin to identify your most unique talents. My favorite mirror is called the Reflected Best Self Exercise, which is based on research by Robert Quinn, Jane Dutton, Gretchen Spreitzer, and Laura Morgan Roberts. It involves emailing people who know you well, asking them to write a story about a time when you were at your best, and then using the common patterns to create a portrait of your strengths.

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Category(s):Self-Confidence, Strengths Assessment

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