What Are My Strengths? – 5 sure-fire ways to identify & play to your strengths

What are my Strengths’?First things first!

Why would anyone ask this question?

Reflecting on the last time I caught myself mulling over it, I realised that I asked this question more often than not, when I wondered what my life’s calling was! 

There were many phases in my life in which I found myself doing things and following pursuits which I realised didn’t drive me. 

And when I looked at people around me, be it my friends, family members, colleagues or anyone else that I knew personally, most of them were probably following a life which did not exactly synchronise with what we may call their inherent strengths. 

On most occasions our motivations are determined by the worldview of those around us and what they deem to be the most perfect thing to do. Most of these pursuits seem to be short term fads at the most and we quickly drop them off like hot potatoes when we realise that they are not what really drive us from the core. 

Now if you take some time off and try to spend some time analysing what is it that you are really born to do, you may catch yourself asking this very question – ‘What are my Strengths’?

But Why Strengths?

Think about the qualities associated with strengths. Strengths always deliver. Strengths gets the job done and does it right. You can always count on it. Obliviously, strengths is a great positive, regardless of whether it is one of your strengths or you are benefitted from other’s strengths. 

What exactly is a strength?

Well, in slightly more technical terms, a strength is the ability to consistently produce a nearly

perfect positive outcome in a specific task.

Strengths are counted on, and they are appreciated.

Consider these real world examples of people performing with strength. You could even consider your real world heroes delivering winning near perfect performances with breath-taking finesse with remarkable consistency. 

  • Virat Kohli’s remarkable consistency in a run chase, irrespective of what the opposition has put on board and ensuring a win almost every single time he walks in to bat.
  • The remarkable ability of Steve Jobs to be able to come up with breathtaking innovations in technology which proved to be path-breaking and almost impossible to parallel
  • The precision with which Roger Federer has dissected any opponent that comes his way with an unbelievably cool disposition adding several Grand Slams to his kitty.

But, how did these people get there? How did these strengths develop?

First, strength requires talent.

Yes, it’s easy to confuse your strengths with your talents but the fact is your talents is what your strengths are based upon. 

Your talents – those thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that come naturally to you – are the source of your true potential. The better you apply and develop these talents into strengths, the greater your potential to consistently act with more confidence, direction and hope. 

Your talents help you understand “Who You Are”.

  • They describe you.
  • They influence your choices.
  • They direct your actions.
  • They explain why you are better at some things than others.
  • They help you filter your world.

Second, strength develops from investment.

If you want to use your talents productively, you must invest in them. You do this by thinking about how you can add your current knowledge and skills to your talents. 

Additionally, you want to think about what new knowledge and skills you need to be even more effective. You also invest in your talents through practice. As you become aware of your talents, you can practice using them every day.
(Sources: Gallup Strengths Centre)

We often take our most powerful talents and strengths for granted, and many of us may not be fully aware of them. We need a little help in discovering our greatest talents and strengths, that where the 5 experiential tools/clues comes in. This is a code that cracks open your awareness of your unique talents and strengths.

Your past successes are filled with many revealing clues to your talents. Examining the spontaneous reactions, yearnings, and areas of satisfaction associated with past success can help you detect traces of talent and gain a higher level of appreciation for the talents involved.

Five Clues to Your Talent and Strengths:

Your everyday life is filled with many revealing clues to talent. Above questions help you consider your yearnings, rapid learning, flow, glimpses of excellence, and areas of satisfaction.

1 . Yearnings can reveal the presence of powerful talent, particularly when they were felt early in life.

A yearning can be described as an internal force that attracts you to a particular activity or environment time and again. A yearning is most often triggered when you see someone’s performance & say ‘I would like to do that or try that’.

Quick Tip: Reflect on what is it that you find yourself unconsciously driven towards. What is that one thing or person (and what is it that he or she did) that you always felt you wanted to emulate.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • To what kinds of activities are you naturally drawn?
  • What activities energize you?
  • What activities are frustrating or drains you?

2 . Rapid Learning reveals other trails of talent. In the context of a new challenge, or new environment, something sparks a your talents. Immediately your brain seems to light up as if whole bank switches were suddenly flicked to “on”. The speed at which you anticipate the steps of an activity, acquires a new skill, or gain new knowledge is a telltale clue to the talent’s presence and power. The dominant feeling with rapid learning is “ I feel like I’ve always know how to do this”.

Quick Tip: There are some things that come very naturally to you and you wouldn’t have to look far to identify what that is! (for instance, I always found myself to be able to quickly skill myself in most outdoor sports and excel in them.

Some questions to ask:

  • What kinds of activities do you seem to pick up quickly?
  • What kind of activities take longer for you to master, even when you know all the steps?

3 . Flow is something referred to as “timelessness”, and it can also serve as a clue to talent. This happens when you become so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time. It occurs because the activity engaged you at a deep, natural level – level of great talent. The activity may be new, but you instinctively knew what comes next.

Quick Tip: There are some things that are seemingly difficult but just happen in the ‘Flow’! For instance I caught myself strumming the string of the guitar to the tunes of a song I really loved and the first time I did this, I hardly realised that an hour had passed by while I seemed to have really enjoyed the experience.

An important question to ask to know if you are in the ‘Flow’ :

In what activities do you seem to automatically know the steps to be taken? 

4 . Glimpses of Excellence are observable flashes of outstanding performance. Most people find these glimpses hard to detect, but those who intentionally study success can pinpoint these inspiring moments. At these times, the task at hand has tapped your greatest talents and directly displayed your potential for strength.

Quick Tip: Try to reminisce those instances in which you did something extraordinary which you did not know you were capable of achieving but you were able to deliver with remarkable ease and received appreciation for it as well! For instance: I vividly recollect the memories of standing in front of a packed audience delivering my first presentation on the topic of ‘Human Potential’.

While I was understandably nervous, I hardly realised what took over when I began with the presentation, the engagement with the audience was spontaneous and it flowed as if it was an impersonal conversation leading ultimately to a loud applause. It was only after the presentation was over was I able to realise that I had been able to totally tap into my deepest reserves and deliver an outstanding performance as far as connecting with my audience was concerned. 
Regardless to say, I was truly surprised at what I was able to achieve that day!

Ask this question to yourself:

During what activities have you had moments of subconscious excellence when you thought, “How did I do that?”

5 . Satisfaction is felt during those experiences where the emotional and psychological rewards are great. Typically these are the activities a person gets a “kick” out of doing. Satisfaction is not a momentary pleasure; it forms a your intrinsic motivation. You pay attention to the situations that seem to bring you these energizing experiences.

Satisfaction, like yearning, is rarely present where talent is not. If you can identify these experiences, you will be on the way to appreciating and valuing your unique talents and strengths.

Your talents and strengths gives you a unique power and edge. They represent your innate power and potential.

Quick Tip: 
Remember the last time you did something that left you wanting for more.

I recollect an instance in which I experienced meditation – what seemed to be a simple act of closing the eyes and trying to be thoughtless very soon became a journey into the infinite reserves of the human self.

I found myself plunging deeper & deeper every single time and it gave me immense satisfaction leaving me completely energized and wanting for more and it seemed that I was able to effortlessly concentrate & shift my attention within, something that motivated the innermost core of my being.

Ask Yourself:

What activities give you a kick, either while doing them or immediately after finishing them, and you think, “When can I do that again?”

Using these Five clues to your talents and strengths, you can appreciate and claim the particular genius of each of your dominant strengths.

In our next article we will share benefits of using Clifton Strengths Finder to help you look at yourself and examine your past successes in a new way – as an individual with powerful talents and strengths in particular areas.

Now having asked yourself these questions, try to spend some time answering them and you will realise what are some of your most natural strengths & talents.

To begin a structured process of identification of your natural strengths with a certified Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, you can now join us on our Strengths Journey here!

Alternatively you can BOOK YOUR 30 MINUTES FREE COACHING SESSION with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach & Founder of Bijoyful, Bijo Joseph and dive deep within to begin your initiation into the Strengths Journey instantly.

You may also like to share the top 3 natural strengths / talents that come to your mind with us in the comments.

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