12/02/2015 Molly Moseley

Stop worrying about weaknesses! Focus on strengths for career success

shutterstock_255862660“Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?”

Benjamin Franklin said those wise words. There’s no arguing that each person’s top qualities can dramatically influence their career path and life’s purpose. The problem, however, is that many people aren’t really sure what those qualities are.

Furthermore, people often put much more effort into defining and overcoming their weaknesses than developing and leveraging their strengths into a career. It appears we may have the whole thing backwards!

If you want to reach your full potential, it’s important to identify and capitalize on your top qualities. Once you know what they are, you can leverage them in your career and personal life. When you’re doing things you know you’re good at, it stands to reason that you’ll be more enthusiastic, have higher self esteem, enjoy your work more and, ultimately, enjoy greater success.

If you’re just starting on your journey toward understanding your talents, you don’t need to read lengthy books or consult career counselors. These five quick steps can help you determine your strengths so you can focus on your best qualities.

1. Think about compliments you receive
Do people always comment on how organized you are? Do others admire your originality and creativity? Did your boss mention she appreciates your ability to lead? Think about compliments you’ve received at work and in your personal life, as these can be indicators of your true strengths.

2. Ask someone who will tell you the truth
Find someone who knows you well and ask them to tell you the truth about your strengths. It could be a best friend, a trusted colleague or even a parent. Remember to be open-minded and don’t get defensive when you hear the answer. Your true strengths may be different from what you think they are.

3. Consider how someone would describe you
How would other people describe you in just three words? Limiting yourself to just a few phrases will really help you focus on the best of the best qualities. If your best friend were to describe you, what would he say? Find out if his answers match what you think.

4. Reflect on past successes
Think of the moments you are most proud of at work and in your personal life. What qualities contributed to your success? Did you need to be focused, creative, dedicated, brave, a team player, etc.? Determine the main reasons you were able to achieve these things and it will help you identify your strengths.

5. What makes you happy and why
Finally, think about what you are most happy doing at work and why. Do you enjoy working in a team or would you rather work alone? Do you love writing pitches but hate crunching numbers? Do you jump at any chance to present to a group or do you loathe public speaking? When you think about your happiest moments at work, you’ll often realize those are the times when your strengths are shining brightest.