Have you ever taken the time to sit down and identify your strengths and weaknesses? Knowing what you excel in and where opportunities for improvement exist can put you on the path towards personal growth.
What are Strengths?
Your strengths are the things you do well and perhaps even better than most. They are where the root of your talent lies. They encompass skills and tasks that come to you naturally. For example, you may be exceptional in problem-solving or critical thinking.
Perhaps you are an excellent public speaker or fantastic storyteller. You may be an excellent cook or party planner. We all have something that we are inherently good at as individuals that we can leverage in our personal lives or even use to build a career, a business or also enhance our relationships.
Experts encourage us to build on our strengths and parlay them into something bigger. Our strengths empower us to set and achieve goals necessary for us to succeed in life whether professionally or personally.
What are Weaknesses?
You might find it easier to list your weaknesses than your strengths, as its always easier to focus on the negative over the positive. Our weaknesses are those things that prevent us from intermittently reaching our peak performance, ultimately holding us back from sheer perfection.
They are the things we are not good at or do not hold our interest. In fact, you may find that you tend to avoid performing these tasks, taking on these duties or having the hard conversations about these topics (Fast Company: The Importance of Finding and Facing Your Weaknesses).
How to Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
There are free and cost-driven several tools on the market that can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. A particular favorite is the Clifton Strengths Assessment which promises to help you figure out what it is you do naturally.
Free tools like VIA Strengths Survey, high5test.com or 41 questions can provide a degree of insight into your strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you set aside adequate time to focus on the questions so that you receive the most accurate results. (Psychology Today: Engage, Strengths, Manage Weaknesses)
Not big on tests? You can always do things the old-fashioned way and create two lists. One list will include your strengths. The other column will hold your weaknesses. Think about what it is you enjoy or do well and list those things on your strengths list. Remember not to embellish here. Think about the positive feedback you received over the years and document those items here. For those things that you dread, look to avoid, you frequently receive negative feedback for from friends, family, significant others or employers and list them in your weaknesses column.
Why is It Important to Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can guide you in identifying those situations within which you thrive or struggle. In simple terms, knowing your strengths and weaknesses help you to understand what makes you tick. Knowing these two things about yourself sets you up to make plans that allow you to define your vision, set goals, establish a plan of action, and take charge of your personal growth.
Many people wonder, where should they spend most of their time? Should they improve their weaknesses or build upon their strengths? There are several schools of thought around these two questions.
Some experts recommend that you should always focus on your strengths because it will require far less of your time to continuing building in these areas. This approach allows you to exert positive energy on the things that matter most to you.
On the other hand, focusing on your weaknesses can prove exhausting and act more as a confidence buster as you may find yourself investing a fair amount of time trying to improve upon something you are not so good at doing or being. Nonetheless, working on your weaknesses can promote personal growth.
While you may never truly master something, you are not good at doing or being, with time, you can slightly improve the skill, raising the bar just enough. Also, you can learn ways to navigate those weaknesses by deploying tools and resources that get you through a tight spot or even calling in reinforcements or experts who can see you through to the other side. Remember, it’s okay to seek help from others who possess the strengths you do not.
If you have yet invested in identifying your strengths and weaknesses, now is the time. Take advantage of the numerous tools that are available online to learn more about yourself and set a path towards personal growth.