Know Your Self & Focus On Your Strengths

Everyone talks about looking at the past, to improve the future. For what?  History is bound to repeat itself. So don’t waste time living in the past.

Likewise don’t focus on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths. It may be counter-intuitive, but that’s the recipe for success.

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When you talk to enough wealthy individuals, you understand that they don’t delve on their weaknesses. They play to their strengths. Easier said than done, but how do you play to your strengths?

Heck, do you even know what your strengths are! You’ve heard interview questions like, “tell me what your weaknesses are” and many prepare to answer that. But how many are preparing to answer the question – “What are YOUR strengths”?

Easier said than done, and introspection alone will not help. You need some outside help (another hint to all those DIYers). You can’t ask your friend or your mother what your strengths are, but you can almost pretty much guess what they’ll say. So what do you do?

Take one or all of these three assessments:

  1. Myers Briggs – based on Jungian psychology and Briggs Myers’ typology — uses four indexes or dimensions to categorize individuals into one of 16 personality types. Within the four modes of engagement, you fall into one of two poles: you’re either primarily Introverted or Extroverted (I/E), Intuitive or Sensing (N/S), Thinking or Feeling (T/F), and Perceiving or Judging (P/J). And while it has no predictive value, it will be very helpful to understand yourself, and to have better perspective on those around you. You can pay for the test here ($49) or take it free here.
  2. Strengths Finder – was developed by Donald Clifton (known as “the Father of Strengths Psychology” and the research team at Gallup and is based on the book. This test focuses on the idea (which I totally agree with) that individuals already have natural strengths, and building upon those strengths will be easier and save time for the organization. Again, they’re grouped into four core strengths – by the types of leadership they represent, from those who are good at executing, at influencing, at relationship building, and at strategic thinking. Got all four in equal amounts? You could be a great leader. Go ahead, and take the test for just over $100. (Alternatively, if you’ve bought the book – you’ll receive an access code with your purchase to take the assessment and get a report on your top 5).
  3. Kolbe Assessment – While MBTI is a personality test, this focuses on your natural instincts for how you think through and tackle problems to arrive at a solution. It categorizes you into four action modes: 1) Fact Finder – the way we gather and share information 2) Follow Thru – the way we arrange and design 3) Quick Start – how we deal with risk and uncertainty and 4) Implementor – how we handle space and tangibles.

What if life happens for us, not to us? Tony Robbins

Think about it for a moment, everyone says you have to work on your weaknesses, like a salmon going upstream or imagine you’re paddling downstream in a canoe and all of a sudden, the current takes you off course. You could resist and start paddling upstream with all your energy, against the strong current – so you can ‘get back on track’.

Of course, there’s always the other viewpoint still, even cliched through sayings like this:

“Only dead fish swim with the current.” (Go left, or go right; it doesn’t matter, as long as you keep on moving.)

But what if you think differently – what if this is strategic to your life? You can either work with your strengths and have an easier, more successful life… or you can struggle to work against your natural self or against nature. The choice is yours.