It’s kind of an obvious idea: to capitalize on what you do well in order to increase your level of results, productivity, and success.
But you don’t have to do this in a vacuum. There are lots of ways to help you identify these strengths, including this one. It makes sense, therefore, to look around for one or more of these tests and inventories that you feel you can trust.
However, to help you get started right now, here’s a brief rundown of some important traits you may want to reflect on. In this context, the question is how much of each trait do you already possess, and how much more would you like to acquire?
Adaptability – the flexibility to adjust your ideas, behaviors, and/or attitudes to cope more successfully as conditions around you inevitably change.
Analysis – the ability to recognize what’s going on in a particular situation, and – even better – to identify the leverage points where you or someone else can most readily alter the situation.
Communication – the ability to convey what you know, think, or believe to other people so they receive – and maybe even accept – your message accurately and more-or-less completely.
Competitor – the desire to perform better than others in some – or for some highly competitive people, all – activities, with a willingness to put in the effort necessary to raise your game high enough.
Confidence – the feeling you are on the right track and are likely to accomplish a particular task, project, or goal. You may feel broadly confident, or confident only in particular situations. Your confidence may come from external accomplishments, from internal feelings, or both.
Connection – the ability to relate well to others and to make it easy for them to relate well to you, resulting in a relatively strong bond in a relatively short time, and/or ultimately feeling a relatively deep bond.
Creativity – the ability to come up with new ideas or new combinations of existing ideas, either spontaneously, by desire, or in response to the requirements of specific situations.
Development – the ability to start with a current idea, situation, or item and apply necessary resources so as to move it along toward a better or more developed condition.
Discipline – the ability and/or desire to follow specific rules or guidelines despite incentives or opportunities to depart from them.
Empathy – the ability to think and feel as others are doing, or at least to recognize what they are thinking and feeling, with a fair degree of immediacy and accuracy.
Focus – the ability to selectively hone in on only certain aspects of a situation and to pay less attention to other aspects, most commonly during a specific time period rather than forever, in hopes of improving or speeding up results.
Harmony – the ability to forge better understanding among two or more people, so they feel themselves to be at least somewhat in agreement with to each other.
Leader – the ability to win support from other people for specific tasks, projects, and/or goals, and – a least to some degree – to guide their ideas, behaviors, and attitudes.
Learner – the drive to learn more than you already know, and to put in the work required to do so.
Organizer – the ability to sequence, arrange, label, or otherwise apply some organizational scheme to ideas, items, or efforts so as to make them easier and/or more understandable for others.
Responsible – the propensity to complete certain tasks, projects, or goals despite difficulties and/or temptations to do something else.
Strategic – the ability to recognize the broad outlines of a dynamic situation, to see the workable steps that forge a path toward a desired goal, and to execute those steps successfully.
Tactical – the ability to successfully adhere to and execute a plan of action that results in progress toward a strategic goal.
Teacher – the desire and ability to impart new information, ideas, or principles to others in hopes of helping them improve themselves, improve their knowledge or competence, and live better lives.
Understanding – the ability to comprehend complex, difficult, or unusual concepts, perhaps quickly or perhaps only after extended study.
There may be other important and useful traits you already have, or want to acquire, that I have not listed here.
As you probably recognize, identifying which of these and other strengths are within your grasp is not an easy process. Nor are there any guarantees that what you believe your strengths to be will accurately reflect who you really are or could become.
But that doesn’t matter. Simply trying to know your strengths – and, by inference, your weaknesses – is a process well worth pursuing, if only because recognizing and fine-tuning your capabilities is fundamental to the process of steadily, successfully improving your ability to do the work and live the life you want.
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