When we focus on our personal strengths, we often become more engaged in the process of self-improvement and the development of inner resources. Recognizing what you’re good at, how those skills and characteristics help you reach goals, succeed, or make meaningful connections, can increase your sense of self-worth. Having a strength-based focus can motivate you to continue to grow, learn, and progress toward your potential. Creating reminders of who we are and who we’re becoming keeps us focused through distraction, and enhances resilience during times of struggle or transformation.
Shifts in mindset that result from a greater focus on the positives, particularly those that encourage the extension of more kindness and compassion toward ourselves, will bring us closer to our true potential. Those who embrace their personal strengths often feel more satisfied and content with who they are and their circumstances. Perhaps most importantly, belief in ourselves, and our abilities, is fundamentally necessary to reaching all other goals.
Any skill, ability, characteristic, or trait that feeds your spirit, energizes you, or sets you apart, is a strength. This includes those things you’re competent in, or excel at. Strengths may be rare qualities, or things that contribute to your uniqueness. Some strengths come to us naturally, are easy for us, personally, to learn, others are developed slowly, over extended periods of time.
Defining Personal Strengths
Taken broadly, your strengths include skills you might describe at a job interview, and also capabilities learned through a hobby. Your greatest strengths may be a source of pride, integral to your identity. And, without a doubt, you have strengths that aren’t apparent to you, but are blatantly obvious to others.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
Strengths & Weaknesses
During introspection, many people see their own weaknesses, magnified, in high definition, while their strengths are teeny, tiny, and blurry. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon, when staring at one’s own reflection, literally and figuratively, to extend judgement, criticism, and blame.
If you’re a perfectionist (by definition, set up to continuously fall short of your own impossible standards), you may go through life carrying a backpack filled with disappointment, guilt, and shame. Perfectionists tend to give others leeway, understanding they’re only human, while expecting a flawless performance from themselves.
There are those who keep searching for strengths, but only come back with weaknesses. Because our thoughts, like our bodies, are creatures of habit, you can help put an end to incessantly beating yourself up by retraining your brain to focus on the positive. Begin by noticing that strengths and weaknesses can be two sides of the same coin.
I work hard ↔ I’m a workaholic
I’m creative ↔ My head is always in the clouds
I’m outgoing ↔ I talk too much
I’m introspective ↔ I’m too shy
I’m frugal ↔ I’m cheap
Strategic thinkers know that there is a point which:
Strengths become weaknesses –
Weaknesses become strengths -
Opportunities become threats -
Threats become opportunities -
You have the power to flip that coin back to the other side!
Valuing Our Talents, Skills, & Assets
Sometimes, people not only find it hard to identify, but also to acknowledge, their own strengths. Perhaps to do so would seem immodest, or maybe they’re aware of a strength, but don’t fully appreciate the value of it.
The inability to see, determine, or acknowledge one’s own strengths has a plethora of negative consequences. Those who don’t value themselves are apt to engage in people-pleasing, chasing external validation. This quest can become obsessive, leading to being taken advantage of, professionally, or remaining in one-sided, or otherwise unhealthy personal relationships.
What we cannot see,
we cannot foster,
or draw upon to reach our goals,
create the life of our dreams,
or become the best possible version of ourselves.
Make a commitment to yourself, today,
to cultivate your strengths!
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This post is an excerpt from Identify & Embrace Your Strengths: On the Path to Personal Empowerment. Purchase the full toolkit!