Think of someone you know well and have seen a lot of over a long period of time. Take a few moments to think about what their relative qualities are. What skills do they have, and what are their personal qualities that are their greatest strengths?
What are they?
This may be something you have not actively stop to consider for the people close to you. Nonetheless, you probably have some idea of what they are quite good at and aspects of their temperament that mean they would be well suited in certain situations compared to others. We’re probably not going to be completely accurate, but we’ll at least have a fairly good idea.
But what if we’re not talking about someone else – what if we are talking about you? Do you know what your own strengths are?
It is a quirk of human nature that we tend to be more observant of others than we are of ourselves. But whilst we may spend a lot of time with others, we will spend 100% of our time with ourselves. And yet, when we are asked questions about ourselves we find the question uncomfortable and bizarre. A normal response is a cloak of false modesty followed by ‘I don’t know’. People also often talk about what they do in their job, and therefore what they are good at through that. But being good at a skill is different to understanding your own personal strengths. Is it not strange that we know so little about ourselves?
We know people who have worked in certain jobs all their lives, and yet we know that does not define them as an individual nor what the qualities they bring to that job are – they may be detail-oriented, hard-working, innovative, creative, adaptable or many other characteristics. This is a different mix to the next person doing the exact same job.
Most of us as individual’s don’t actually knowmuch about ourselves. And whilst we can take the advice of our nearest and dearest to observe us, they are not the ones joining us in our job interviews, nor deciding what we want to do in life. Instead, we are making our own life decisions. But we are missing critical information.
So take a bit of time out of your day today to genuinely ask yourself what your strengths are. Try to think about specific character traits that you bring into the different facets of your life. You are of course welcome to ask other people for their perspective as well, but they will only have a limited view so don’t follow the advice of others religiously.
You will not gain a full understanding of yourself overnight, but by understanding what your strengths are, you will have an easier time navigating what you might want to do in the future. And remember, strengths are not set in stone; you can build new ones and some strengths can shift as your priorities change.