What if the secret to unlocking your inner wisdom was to pay attention to the things you do well? Instead of listening to the insidious yammering about where you don’t measure up, you could turn up the volume on the whisperings of your wise self. It turns out the language of your best self is composed of a long list of your strengths.
The thing is we don’t regularly spend time enough quality time dialing into what we are good at, and what comes naturally to us. Because these gifts are easy, we don’t give them much credit, or take them for granted. Doing so cuts us off from our most powerful self, the part of ourselves that hums along, energized, performing tasks with ease and grace.
One way to get reacquainted with your strengths is to ask yourself a series of questions like the ones below which are designed to start you thinking about what you most enjoy doing and when you feel the most energized. You may want to have a coach, mentor, friend, or a small group of friends ask you these questions, and listen to your responses, to help you identify your strengths as they emerge from your answers.
Strengths Assessment Questions*:
What sort of everyday things do you enjoy doing?
What makes for a really good day for you? Describe the best day that you can remember having. (You may want to do this for three different types of days: a weekday at work, a weekend day, a day of vacation.)
What would you describe as your most significant accomplishment?
When you are at your best, what are you doing?
What gives you the greatest sense of being authentic and who you really are?
What do you think are the most energizing things that you do? (Consider work and play.)
What are you doing when you feel at your most invigorated?
Describe a time when you think the “real me” is coming through the most.
What are you most looking forward to in the future?
Thinking about next week, what will you be doing when you are at your best?
Once you’ve answered these questions, what do you do with this information?
It is one thing to go through the above questions, and it’s another to figure out how to apply this knowledge. So, once you know what lights you up and helps you feel more energized, it’s time to determine HOW you can do MORE of these activities in ways that truly inspire you. Can you engage these natural skills, talents and tendencies in ways that allow you to do what you do best and perform optimally at work or play. For example, is there a way your party-planning skills can be used in to help create forward momentum in a work-related project? Are there additional ways to utilize your empathetic listening skills beyond being a colleague’s sounding board?
I’ve asked myself strengths assessment types of questions, looking for ways to blend the things I LIKE to do with the things I NEED to do. For example, blogging or writing doesn’t necessarily come naturally for me, yet, it is something I’ve learned to do, and do pretty well (most of the time). What I’ve realized is that when I harness my strengths around my writing, it goes better and feels easier. A particular strength of mine is a love of reading. Where I really get the thrill is in the learning, the deep dive I can take into the world of fresh, new ideas. Another way I feel most alive is when I am moving my body, either running or biking. What I’ve discovered about what makes these activities so satisfying is my brain gets to roam. These times of exercise are great for contemplation and idea generation. Often, my best writing emerges after I’ve read something I’m fascinated by – like a chapter on how to identify strengths – and then go for a run where I can let my brain off the leash so it can piece together concepts I think are most interesting, and begin the outline, and consider the hook and so on.
When you are able to recognize your strengths and begin to harness them in your daily activities, you start to feel more authentic and energized. This is what has you connected to your true self and doing the things that are right and natural for you. So, lean in, listen to the call of what you truly love to do…and go do more of that. This is where your best self hangs out, this is where your joy lives.
*Questions from Average to A+: Realising Strengths in Yourself and Others, by Alex Linley
Are you ready to discover your strengths? Let’s put some action behind that desire.
I would be honored to be your thought-partner and assist you with a strengths assessment. Let’s talk about how you can effectively apply what you’ve learned. It’s time you got fluent in the language of your wise inner self.
Are we a good fit? Let’s find out. Sign up for a FREE coaching session to test the waters.
If you enjoyed this blog – please FORWARD it to a friend who you think would like it too.