Life Step 1: Discover Your Strengths

Elvis Elvis

Discover your strengths and make the most of them using these simple, direct,and easy to follow methods. You have more talent and potential for success than you know. Amaze yourself with this Life Step.

Positioning Yourself for Success

Most of us have characteristics and habits that get in the way of our efforts to take charge and get things done. If you address them and move them aside, your pathway to discover your strengths is cleared and you increase your chances of success.

If you, for example, find that you are often angry—or even just negative–in social situations, dealing with it would greatly improve you positioning for success. Anger has a deadly effect on relationships and stops emerging opportunities in their tracks. Once you bring it under control, your plans will unfold much more smoothly. In positioning, you will be dealing with weaknesses in order to more easily discover your strengths. Healthy people are always improving their position for success. You will see more about this in the soon to be released e-booklet “Playing to Your Strengths”.

For now, consider the five major areas of personality that impact success: initiative, emotional stability, openness (to new experiences), focus, and friendliness. Here are some pairs to help you identify something you want to change.

Initiative Passive ………. Active
Stability Anxious ………. Calm
Openness Resistant ………. Willing
Focus Confused ………. Organized
Friendliness Hostile ………. Friendly

The desirable traits are all on the right. Do you have any traits like those on the left that are impeding you and need to be changed? If so, name one and describe what happens when it appears. Then consider how you might act differently in those situations, and at the first opportunity, introduce your new response.

If anger were your poor position, your alternatives might include telling the other person how you are feeling, taking a time out, suggesting another approach more suitable to you both, or ignoring the provocation and moving on.

The time it takes will pay off as you actively position yourself for success in what ever you choose to do.

Discovering Your Strengths

Now you need to find every advantage that you have at your disposal when you need it. Take the time to make thorough lists as you discover your strengths. They will be incomplete, but you will have a huge resource to work with, and you can start adding to each of them by what you choose to do. Adding new strengths will become a goal to urge you on.

How do you discover your strengths? Think about times when you are at your best, times from the past when you were hugely successful, or even in little things, dreams you had, and times when you felt ecstatic about what you were doing. These are the doorways that we can walk through to discover your strengths. Keep them in mind as you search for a full catalogue of your many resources.

Life Step 1: Discover Your Strengths

In your journal, begin with these three headings for lists you will make:
• My Interests
• Experiences That Have Enriched My Life
• What I Know About and Can Do.

List as many things as you can under each heading. Take your time. Come back to your lists several times. You can work with a friend taking turns being coach and client.

Imagine that these are three of the strengths that you wrote in your journal: “I’m interested in flying.” “My richest experience was going to Africa to photograph people.” “I know a lot about history.”

Search for Strength Tracks

As you look at the three examples above, can you see an activity that would draw on all three of these strengths and combine them for a greater potential for success? That is a strength track. You could, for instance, based on the examples above, fly to interesting, remote places and write about the people, illustrating your stories with your photographs. That could even be a career. Can you see other possible tracks in those examples?

Once you have seen strength tracks in your lists, outline them and decide what actions each track suggests to you. In the flyer-photographer-historian example, you can…

• Investigate flying lessons• Take a photography course• Find interesting places and investigate their histories

And you can do many other things as well, depending on the directions that you want to go. The critical point here is that you will discover your strengths, and in your strength tracks lies your potential for genius.

In summary, to prepare for using your strengths, position yourself for success by sweeping away something that is blocking your path. Then discover your strengths using your journal. Check out your lists of strenghths for connections; find your strength tracks, and finally, let your strengths guide you to what you do next.

When you work with your strengths you have the greatest chance for success and you will be energized by the fit between you and what you have chosen to do. You will be on your way to success.