Here on BraveNewTalent we ask you to fill in your skills on your talent profile. I realise this is not always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes we spend so long thinking about what we are weaker at that we never even stop to invest thought or energy into what we are truly talented at.
I know exactly how that feels. I know that sometimes you don’t know what you’re good at. I understand how you may be good at something and not enjoy it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what you are good at compared to others and you do not realise the value you represent.
I can’t express strongly enough to you how important thinking about this is.
Working this stuff out is vital to fulfill your career – and not just your career actually, but your whole life.
One of the people who has done a lot of work in this field is Marcus Buckingham. He’s a speaker, author, consultant and I guess a mentor and life coach to many. He worked for Gallup and developed a system with them to help people realise their true potential. He believes you should not waste your time becoming great at something you are naturally weak on, but that you should mould your life to maximise the use of your strengths because it will make you happier and more productive – and therefore more valuable, employable and fulfilled.
Gallup also believe this. It is a very cool organisation and one of the great things it does is to identify and recognise every individual’s strengths. A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit the offices and I actually mistakenly thought there was a ‘Head of Woo’. Actually, everyone at Gallup has their five key strengths printed on their door. (Woo, by the way, stands for ‘winning others over’ – someone with high charisma who gets a kick out of ‘wooing’ people to their cause or project.)
Not everyone gets to do the ‘StrengthsFinder’ test (although there are plenty of books on it if you want to look at them). I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity and it changed the way I thought about myself – and definitely for the better. One of my top five strengths was not a surprise: Communicator. Communication is what I have always done, professionally and long before I began my career. But it wasn’t my strongest. My biggest skill is actually ‘individualisation’. I am really good at noticing differences between people, working out how they tick and how different people’s personalities and skills fit together. And it’s true, I’m totally fascinated by how people differ. It also explains why I’m telling you all of this – because I want to use my individual experience to show you how to discover your strengths too.
Marcus Buckingham helps you discover your strengths
This video above from Marcus will tell you a lot about how to go about thinking about your strengths – and therefore your skills – but he also points out three things you can consider when identifying if something is a strength or not.
First, think about the activity (let’s say it’s public speaking, but it could be anything – researching, designing, filing, whatever…)
1. When you know you have an engagement coming up, do you get excited about it? Do you look forward to it?
2. When you are doing it, do you lose track of time? Do you find yourself wishing this activity was your whole life (or at least your job?)
3. Afterwards, do you feel energised and exhilarated?
If so, you’ve got yourself a strength. Congratulations. Now, work out where you can use it in your career and maximise your exposure to these activities. You can’t lose in this game.
Apply it to your skills and add it your your talent profile on BraveNewTalent to boost your page.
The best of luck in discovering your strengths!