Everybody has assets and qualities that help them in their everyday lives. We apply them both in our personal and professional lives. Most of us don’t bother to look at these assets or ponder the question of how we can articulate and expand them to advance our careers or to become better persons. In the following, I will demonstrate in a few simple steps how you can discover, grow, and leverage your strengths to achieve your personal or professional goals.
- How to discover your key strengths.
- Growing your assets.
- Situations where you can leverage your assets.
- Tactics that will help you discover your strengths.
1How to discover your key strengths
You can discover your assets in various ways. Firstly, tackling difficult experiences will teach you valuable lessons about your strengths and weaknesses. How you react in these circumstances says a lot about your character. Look at a challenging situation as an opportunity for you learn more about yourself in terms of your assets and weaknesses.
Secondly, helping others who need help will teach you more about your assets. This can expose your weaknesses too. Showing your support requires empathy, compassion, and love. Even if the person you are trying to help is not willing to receive or accept the assistance, it does not mean that your effort to help is futile. Knowing when your help is wanted and when it is not helps you practice acceptance and intuition.
Lastly, meditation can be used to focus on the assets you possess and help you recognize how you demonstrate these qualities in your relationship with yourself and others. This is easier said than done. Becoming good at meditation can take years of practice. There are many apps and tutorials on Youtube that can help you get started.
2Growing your assets
Once you have identified your assets and strengths, you can start to expand or grow these. For example, if your asset is empathy and compassion, you may want to explore in which areas those qualities can be put to use. Being very empathetic and compassionate is not really of much use unless you can apply it to your relationships. If you identify with these assets, you may want to explore roles within health care, psychiatry, or teaching. If your key strengths are that you are resilient, organized, and possess good communication skills, you might want to look at roles within sales.
Finding the areas where these qualities can be put to practice will not only give you a better idea what roles or positions are appropriate for you, it will also give you the knowledge to define goals that will help you in achieving happiness. Ultimately, we want to be happy about our life choices.
Furthermore, well-defined objectives will help you grow your assets. If your goals align with your strengths, it will make you more confident and content about your decisions. No matter where those decisions will lead you, they will give you an opportunity for growth and experience that will facilitate the development of your assets.
3Situations where you can leverage your assets
By discovering and developing your assets you will become a stronger candidate for that next job or promotion. Also, it makes you a better husband, wife, or parent. If you are applying for a job, study program, or position, it is an advantage to know your assets. For example, in a job interview, you probably will hear questions such as ‘What are some of your strengths and how would you apply those in the current position?’.
It would be hard to prepare for a job interview if you have no idea what your strengths are. Furthermore, if you choose to mention some assets that you think the employer will like and these are not genuinely your strongest qualities, you may come off as somewhat insincere and superficial. However, being honest about the areas where you are lacking and showing sincere interest in growing in the same areas will give the potential employer a positive impression of you and your willingness to learn.
In summary, being confident about your strengths and being willing to grow in areas where there is space for improvement are keys to your success.
4Tactics that will help you discover your strengths
Start by writing down your strengths and assets. If you have a hard time identifying your strengths, try asking your colleagues and friends about your assets. Send this to 5-15 people in your network:
“I am working on an assignment in a career development course. One of the tasks is to ask a few people I know to name my strengths. Would you be so kind as to send me which strengths you think I possess?”
You’ll be surprised by their reaction. Be sure to include people that know you well and that have experience working with you. Don’t be afraid to send it to your previous employers, either. The worst-case scenario is that they will not reply.
I’ve done this myself. The results came as a nice surprise. My friends and colleagues said that I possess qualities such as an open and joyful personality, solution-focused and resourceful, diligent and curious, persistent, and steadfast.
Additionally, there are free assessment surveys you can complete online. One of these surveys is the VIA character strengths survey:
The results from my VIA survey is 24 different character strengths such as gratitude, creativity and love of learning. It was interesting to compare the results from the survey to the list of assets I received from my friends and colleagues. I have learned that people’s actual perception of me does not always align with my ideas of what others think of me.
Feel free to share the results from your own assessment and response from your contacts in the comment section below.