We’re always interested in ways to improve our work quality — and, perhaps more importantly, our enjoyment while on the job. Today we came across an article on Entrepreneur.com titled 4 Ways to Discover Your Strengths and it was so fantastic that we had to (while giving Entrepreneur.com ample credit for having written it!) share it on Look-Solutions for all to see. Here’s what Entrepreneur says are the four ways to rekindle, better understand or simply kindle your strengths:
1. Watch for signs of excitement. When you engage in an activity you are truly good at, your excitement is visible. Your pupils dilate, your chest is broader, your speech is fast and fluid, and your arms spread wider. “You can see someone feels alive and motivated when they’re using a core strength,” Kashdan says.
Ask a close mentor when you appear most animated or observe yourself for a day. When do you feel most engaged? Most energized? “When people are using their strengths, they pop out of the backdrop,” Kashdan says.
(If observation sounds tricky, you can also take an online survey, like the VIA Character Strengths Test to help you identify and rank your greatest strengths.)
2. Break away from job titles. To uncover your gifts, you need to explore new roles. “Think of your company as a laboratory,” Kashdan says. Encourage flexible roles and see how it goes. “If people are excited about trying something else and you have some evidence that they could be good, then experiment with it,” he says.
For example, one executive wanted a more creative, innovative workplace but wasn’t the man to do it himself. Kashdan helped him identify a maverick on his staff — someone creative and unconcerned with others’ opinions — then put that person in charge of innovation. By assigning roles based on strengths, rather than job titles, they were able to create a stronger team.
3. Notice what you do differently than everyone else. In a situation where you are truly using your strengths, you will stand out from a crowd. Your approach will be unique. To name your strengths, you want to identify those moments and articulate how you are different.
Kashdan recalls one executive at an early morning meeting who told an animated story about letting his kids run free at a crowded aquarium. “His focus was not on safety but on promotion,” Kashdan says, highlighting a support for autonomy that would help him manage independent workers.
4. Describe your strengths creatively. When naming your strengths, avoid what Kashdan calls “wastebasket terms,” meaning overused words like ‘passionate’ or ‘dedicated.’ Instead, come up with a unique term that captures your specific strength.
“By coming up with an exciting word, you avoid all the typical connotations,” Kashdan says. He uses terms like storyteller, autonomy supporter, investigator, energy incubator, and battery. That specificity helps leaders apply their gifts. “Once you can put a word to your strengths, it becomes much more embedded in your everyday life,” he says.