Play to Your Strengths: Make the Most of Your Talents and Live a Happy and Successful Life
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach
Last week's newsletter was about the importance of identifying your personal strengths. I encouraged you to consider your strengths and weak spots. Knowing yourself well will pave the way to choosing a happy and successful life for yourself.
Once you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can begin to place more focus on your strengths. More importantly, perhaps, you can develop your natural talents. You will also want to minimize your weaknesses to the extent that you can. Remember, your weaknesses only matter if they fall within one of the four most important realms in your life: the physical, mental, social and spiritual. You also want to be aware of how your weaknesses affect your ability to see and use your strengths. Having this self-knowledge and insight about yourself will allow you to choose the happy and successful life you deserve.
A clear clue to a strength is to consider what people compliment you for and what you’re happiest doing.
Consider how those things that people notice about your fit into your life as a whole. By doing that, you’ll be able to approach your quest for success in the main three areas of your life which are play, personal, and work.
The truth is that the central area of importance is in the personal domain. If your personal life feels successful, then your play and work will likely feel that way too. Your top qualities will be apparent across all three of those areas.
Once you have identified the areas that you need to focus most of your attention on, consider how you might strengthen them.
See some possible actions you can take below:
Learn to say "no." Say "no" to tasks that don’t emphasize or take advantage of your strengths. You honestly do not need an excuse to say "no." But if you’re uncomfortable with saying "no" at that moment, say you have to check with your calendar or your spouse first. Then say "no" later without feeling bad about it. The more you practice saying "no," the easier it becomes. Say "yes" to the activities that will play to your strengths. Say "no" to those that don't.
Develop your cross skills. Are you super organized at work, but your home life is a little chaotic because of a lack of organization? Why not share some of your skill of organization that is so apparent at work with your home life?
Keep learning. If you have a weakness that is interfering with one of your strengths, identify steps you can take to improve on that. Don't stress about it, but take one action each day. Learn something new you need to know. For example, if you need to learn about a specific topic, find books and read at least 30 minutes each day. By the end of the year, you will have become an expert in at least one subject.
Don’t like something? Stop doing it. If you dislike doing something, know that you don’t have to do it. Start creating steps toward not having to do what you don’t like to do. Start with the things you can stop doing right now. Identify the things that you want to give up and can’t do right now. Create steps toward being able to give it up or delegate it if you don't enjoy doing it.
Play to your strengths. Make it your goal to spend more quality time doing the things you enjoy doing that you are good at. Make it a goal to spend your time doing what you like doing and are good at doing. Your life will feel even more successful as every moment will be more of a pleasure.
Avoid negative people. If anyone in your life is a drag on your confidence, you need to consider letting that relationship go. Spend time with people who lift you up and make you feel good. Stick with people who encourage you to go for your goals, not those who discourage you.
Leave your comfort zone. Focusing on your strengths doesn’t mean you can avoid leaving your comfort zone. For example, if you enjoy writing and fancy yourself a published author, make it a goal to write for at least one hour a day every day. That practice can lead to a published book. Seth Goins says if you want to be a writer, you have to write! Push through anything that feels slightly uncomfortable. Focus on your outcome. I don't mean to do anything that is physically painful or might cause you harm. But sometimes we have to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones if we want to grow.
The benefit of focusing on your strengths is a life full of pleasure, happiness, and success.
That sure beats living a life of frustration and unfulfilled goals, doesn't it? By nurturing your talents, you’ll avoid the risk of them fading away and feeling the pain of regret.
Here are some suggestions on how to develop your skills.
The idea of developing your skills, by leaving your comfort zone, has already been mentioned. But let’s take that a little further. Some people may misunderstand what that means. They may think avoiding their weaknesses means not learning anything new. But nothing could be further from the truth! Even when playing to your strengths there is so much to learn. For example:
Identify which strengths you want most to develop. Some things you may have a natural talent for that have nothing to do with what you want to do in your work life. Perhaps you’re great at making crafts or cooking, but neither of those activities has nothing to do with your career (unless, of course, you are the next Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray or Mrs. Fields of Mrs. Fields' cookies). Those skills are unlikely to lead you to success outside your personal life. It’s great to focus on hobbies you enjoy in your leisure time. But you also need to focus on the strengths that will help you in your professional career.
Think baby steps. Take small steps each day to become even better at what you want to do. For example, let’s say you’re great at public speaking. You love public speaking. You know that public speaking can be a real asset to you in your chosen profession. Join a speaker’s group, read about speaking, practice speaking even if you need to go out and do it for free. The more you do it, the better you will become at it. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Plan an event of your own where you can showcase your speaking talents.
Act as though you were a manager. Successful CEO's know how to identify the strengths of their key team members and make optimal use of them. Good managers believe in using each person in their charge to their best ability. You should think that way, too as it pertains to your strengths. Why try to be "well-rounded" when playing to your strengths will get you the success and happiness you want?
Define your expectations. Choose a couple of talents and skills you want to develop, and decide what you want to accomplish. Do you plan to start a speaking business or do you plan to use your speaking skills to get a promotion at work? What are the results of perfecting your skill set?
Working toward your goals little by little, day-by-day, can make a significant impact on your life in the long run.
You don’t have to make massive changes right this moment. Just make a small step each day. It may help you to map out the changes you want to make. Use a monthly calendar. Start with the end date or target date in mind and work your way backward to today. Fill in each skill you want/need to develop. Mark benchmarks that need to be met by date. Focus on only one or two skills at a time, and you’ll improve your expertise exponentially.
Being self-aware in the way that this post suggests isn't easy work, but the payoffs are enormous. In the end, it is the people who are willing to do this kind of work that wind up being the most successful.
Until next time.
Is your current job or career playing to your personal strengths? If not, please consider joining my November Group Coaching Cohort. We will be starting a brand new group this coming Saturday, November 3rd.
The calls take place every other Saturday afternoon at 2:00 PM EST for about an hour. The dates of this cohort will be impacted some because of the holidays, but I anticipate the dates of the cohort's meetings to be as follows:
November 3, 2018
November 17, 2018
December 1, 2018
December 15, 2018
January 5, 2019
January 19, 2019
February 2, 2019
February 16, 2019
By mid-February, you will have all the tools you need for finding the job or career of your dreams and make 2019 the year of your new career.
To find out more, click here or contact me by responding to this email.
I would love to have you join us!
Boitnott Coaching, LLC
Glen Allen, VA 23060
United States of America