If I were to ask you “What are your greatest strengths?”, would you know the answer? And I don’t mean the answer that you think ‘should’ be the right answer. I mean honest and authentic strengths that are true for you, and not someone else’s strengths that you wish were yours. I also don’t mean the kind of strengths that you’ve heard people say in job interviews. You know the ones – “I’m a hard worker.” “I am good at dealing with people.” “I have good organisational skills.” These responses don’t tell us a lot, and might indicate that you don’t have a great deal of insight about your personal characteristics that make you uniquely YOU.
And if I went on to ask you whether you are using your strengths, I wonder if you could give me a good answer to that.
Perhaps we should take a step back and understand what is meant by personal or signature strengths.
What do I mean by personal or signature strengths?
Your signature strengths are your top strengths. They are the core characteristics that come the most naturally to you, make you feel authentic, alive and engaged. These top strengths are easily displayed across all facets of life, such as school, work, community and family.
There is a strong scientific research base suggesting that one way to find greater happiness and well-being is to use your signature strengths in new ways. That’s why it’s important to understand our personal or signature strengths – so we can harness them and use them to our advantage.
Why should you know your strengths (and your weaknesses)?
If you are invested in your career or personal development, the ‘why’ is important. When you have a good understanding of the ‘why’, you can really begin to care about the ‘what,’ ‘how,’ and ‘what’s next?’
When you know what your strengths are, you can harness them and use them to your advantage to get great results. Sometimes you will have strengths that you don’t even realise are strengths. This can result in wasted opportunity for you to demonstrate and use those strengths to your advantage.
When you know what your weaknesses are, you can use strategies to overcome your weaknesses to turn them into strengths through a path of development. You can also learn to mitigate your weaknesses through deliberately changing behaviours, or bringing other behaviours to the fore to overshadow the weaknesses. When you don’t know what your weaknesses are, you might have a problem! You can’t improve what you don’t know, right?
You don’t have be ready for a new job or career, to want to know your strengths. You might be interested in self-development, or might just want to satisfy your curiosity and do it for fun…
Find your strengths test
There are a few free tests you can do to reveal what your personal strengths are.
Here is one through the VIA Institute on Character:
You will need to complete some registration details in order to take the test.
Here is another:
https://high5test.com – this a 100 question test that is a fun one. You will need to register your name and email. The results you get from this test show your top 5 skills. If you want any more information than that, you will need to pay for a report. I didn’t pay for a report, rather answered each question and thoughtfully reflected on my top 5.
What are my personal strengths?
As someone who reflects quite a bit, I’m quite in tune with what my personal strengths are. I certainly know what my strengths and weaknesses are in a professional context.
Today I thought I’d take the time to do some tests to see how I fare. This one is through the VIA Institute on Character.
Here are my results:
To be honest, I was happy but disappointed with my results at the same time. These top strengths of mine certainly ring true for me. I think part of me was hoping they might be strengths that are more ‘powerful’ – whatever that might mean. Like courage and resilience for example. Surely Wonder Woman has a more impressive set of personal strengths than mine? But instead, my top strengths are:
Love – valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people.
Appreciation of beauty and excellence – noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.
Honesty – speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions.
Gratitude – being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.
Hope – expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about.
Next came kindness, fairness and humility.
These are my summary results through High5test.com site:
What does these results tell me?
I am who I am. These are my strengths. They are what makes me uniquely ME and not someone else. They absolutely fit my personality, the choices that I make, and my behaviour.
The more I thought about my top strengths, the more I wondered why I was hoping they would be different or ‘better’, especially when I knew they did ring true for me. And I realised that I am perfectly suited to be doing what I’m doing, and that I’m using these strengths in a tangible way every day – building my online businesses from home, and helping others to achieve their own goals to build the lives that they want, in an honest and authentic way. The fact that I see beauty in things and have gratitude and optimism does make writing come quite naturally and honestly.
The whole reason I decided to build an online career from home was to be able to spend more time with my family and be present for them, and to help both myself and others design our best careers for ourselves, on our own terms.
Are your strengths shining through in your work, life and community?
Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve been motivated to investigate and reflect on your strengths. What are your strengths, and are you using them?