Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Leveraging Your Internal Assets: Discover Your Strengths!

Author - Beth Silver

Last month, while sitting with a client discussing her résumé, I realized
she forgot one extremely important piece of information: her strengths. She
focused on the work that she did and how her experiences could assist her in
the future, but she forgot to describe those tasks and projects she could
effortlessly handle and enjoy the most.pencilsWhen I asked her about this quality, she looked at me a bit puzzled. She
explained that her strengths were her accomplishments. While achieving large
goals is a definite strength, I explained to her how I use or leverage my
strengths (strategizing, meeting and connecting people, thinking creatively,
communicating, and being responsible) to my advantage. Since understanding
my strengths, my life and business have never been so much fun.

Step 1: Be open and positive.

Assessing one's strengths is one of the most difficult things a person can
do. Most of us look at the things that are hard for us to do, not the easy
stuff. The easy stuff, which we enjoy, we often take for granted. It's the
hard stuff that we stress and worry over. Note, too, that as we all get
older or gain additional experiences, our strengths grow and become
stronger. Be positive and open about what you are good at and what you

Step 2: Know what's easy and what's not.

What things are easy for you and what's not? Write them down. Understanding
what you are good at and enjoy and knowing what is not your strength will
help you focus on what you should be doing. For example, I love to help
businesses get the word out and promote themselves; however, assisting them
with financial projections is something I don't really like to do myself, so
I always recommend professionals who love numbers for that task. By knowing
what I can do best and doing it, I can deliver better service to my clients.
If I focused on the financial projections all the time, we all would be
miserable. :)

Step 3: Know your greatest accomplishments.

Think about what you have enjoyed the most and what you accomplished,
jotting these achievements down. Create a list of at least ten
accomplishments you have enjoyed the most in your life. They can be related
to your personal life or your career. They could have happened when you were
a child. Now, think about whether these things involved other people or were
solitary activities.

If you cannot write this list in one sitting, please don't fret—this process
takes time. Just don't give up or simply write anything down. Think about it

Step 4: Look for tools to make strength finding easier.

After reading the book Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and
Donald Clifton almost two years ago, my eyes truly opened. This book gave me
the insight to reevaluate my strengths. I think it's a great tool and always
pass it on to others. In addition to reading this book, I have taken
D.I.S.C. and M.B.T.I. assessments to understand my working style and how to
interpret others so that I can assist them in maximizing their strengths as

Step 5: Envision your strengths addressing your client's issues.

One of the most difficult things for most people is learning to toot their
own horn in a positive, productive way. Instead of boasting about what you
are good at, describe what strengths you can offer your clients to solve
their problems. Trust me, once you discover your strengths and focus on
using them, you will be surprised how more productive you will be when
working with your clients.

I have always worked hard, but I must admit that once I started to focus
projects on those that leveraged my strengths, I was able to work smarter,
be more productive, and give my clients a better deliverable.

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