Beginners guide: 4 smart strategies to find your strengths

transitioning careers

It’s funny, I am a recent graduate in search of my future.

Throughout my studies, at work I see people walking around, oblivious to the things that are so clear. Their natural strengths and talents influence how they see the world. They’re how they deal with problems, they’re the foundation of their future choices. Yet strengths are sometimes the hardest thing to quantify.

And I’m a researcher.

So, here are my ideas to help you find your strengths.

1) Self reflection  

Be mindful. Sit down and ask yourself, when do you feel energized? What activities are you doing when you have felt the most confident? Perhaps it’s a vivid memory that you can recall instantly. If not, I suggest dedicating a day or two to observe your patterns of behaviour. What comes naturally to you? What are your highlights of the day? What have you accomplished?

2) Voice of many

I discovered this in a Huffington Post article, so wonderfully explained by Adam Grant. This method, which we use at Accelus with our coaching clients, is gathering the voices of many. We recommend choosing a diverse group of people you connect with. This should include colleagues, friends and family. Ask them for their thoughts on what they think your strengths are and better still ask them for specific examples. You’re wanting stories that capture you at your best. You’ll find that common themes will appear no matter who you have asked. This is because it is a part of who you are.

3) Validate with external testing

There are a multitude of online tests that use self reported responses to determine your top characteristics and strengths. My tried, tested and recommended are the Gallops Strengths Assessment, High Five, and the Myers- Briggs Assessment.

4) Life audit

Take a pile of post its notes, and start writing down your goals, passions and interests, however big, however small. Once complete take a step back and start identifying recurring themes.

Some thoughtful advice given by Tod Kashdan in this article. Choose words that are unique and have meaning to you. Words like “passionate” and “dedicated” are “wastebasket terms” – they’re overused. Maybe you’re a mountain climber (resilient and a great problem solver), perhaps you’re an otter (empathetic and able to build strong connections with people), or you could be a teacher (great at communication with a love for sharing knowledge).

Recognizing your strengths and talents is just the beginning. From here, you have your whole life to sharpen, incubate and master your talents. You have the opportunity to explore and expand them, creating for yourself your own future.

Excited? You better be, because this is just the beginning.

Written by Maddie Ford