Our members and partners, CoachingPartner, believe that the path to achieving success – whatever that means to you – starts with understanding your uniqueness. Here they explain why this is one of the most important things to understand if you want to have a big impact on the world – and be happy while doing it.
Understanding my strengths and using them as much as I could was at the centre of me shifting my career from running small organisations – where I was good but not great, ok but not thrilled, and exhausted into the bargain – to coaching. I realised that although I could run spreadsheets, organise events and project manage programmes, I wasn’t doing these better than other people could, and I was feeling incredibly drained. But there were moments when I was at my absolute best: these were with people. Supporting volunteers, managing staff, running internships. In these moments not only was I in flow, and enjoying myself, but I was very aware that I was having a real and demonstrable impact on people, and that there was no one in my team that could do that as well as me. It took me several years to find the way to really leverage these strengths – as a career and leadership coach – but when I did the results surprised even me. I went from never having coached before to being fully self-employed, successful by all the criteria I have, in less than two years. And now helping people understand their strengths is a part of the work I do with almost all my clients, whatever challenge they are facing. Because when you understand your strengths – the unique mix of talents and skills that only you have – things always start to shift.
Each time I do strengths work with a client, something opens up for them.
Some realise that something they do naturally and don’t think about is something that others find impossibly difficult, which increases their confidence and helps them understand how best to help themselves or their team. Some realise that their work is all on things that they can do OK, but not on things which they are brilliant at, enabling them to begin to shift their day-to-day tasks to where their talents lie, with great results. Sometimes it’s simply the idea that you can focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, and that doing this will make you happier and more productive, that opens people’s minds. Sometimes these shifts are small, and sometimes large.
“Our studies indicate that people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.” Tom Rath, Strengthsfinder 2.0
Research from Gallup – whose test and book, Strengthsfinder 2.0, I highly recommend – says that when people focus on their strengths, they are happier and more engaged in their work, and of course from those two things come increased performance and productivity. Gallup are convinced that the way to change the lack of employee engagement in so many modern workplaces is to help the people in those workplaces understand and use their strengths. And yet despite this, we spend so much time training ourselves at the things we struggle with, managing our staff focused only on the things that aren’t going well.
Of course, sometimes there are times when we have to do things we aren’t good at. But as a leader or entrepreneur, often under significant pressure, being pulled in all directions, understanding your strengths can be the key to opening up the kind of productivity and success that we are all seeking. It is then, when we understand and use the set of strengths and talents that make us unique, that the real magic happens.
“The choice is between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses.” Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Work Week
So take some time today to reflect – what are the strengths that make you unique? Are you using them each day? How much have you used them today?
And then make a change: spend just a few more minutes each day this week on something you are naturally good at and see what happens.
I think you’ll be surprised.
Want to learn more about your strengths?
Join our seminar “Understand your strengths” in cooperations with Impact HUB Westminster on Wednesday July 19th at 6:30pm. More info and how to sign up via Evenbrite:
Author: Robbie Swale – you can see the original article here.