Often times, people are so focused on improving their weaknesses, they don't see or know what they are really good at - their strengths!
Think of your strengths discovery like wearing glasses. Without your glasses on, everything is a little fuzzy. Sure, you can make out some things, but for the most part, everything is a little unclear, a little clouded.
When you wear your glasses, on the other hand, everything becomes more clear and more in focus!
Success is derived from strengthening our strengths and having an awareness of our weaknesses (but not fixing them). We must learn how to strengthen our strengths and manage/neutralize our weaknesses.
Uncovering your strengths can boost your confidence, allow you to operate at a higher level, realize your true potential, and reach your goals. Uncovering your strengths includes uncovering what is difficult to see at first, your hidden strengths.
what are hidden strengths?
Hidden strengths are natural talents that are just underdeveloped or underutilized. Often they are called "unrealized" or unknown.
Talents, knowledge, and skills - along with the time spent (investment) practicing, developing your skills, and building your knowledge base - combine to create your strengths (as defined by Gallup). These are often times also called your natural strengths.
Your natural strengths occur as your top 20% of talents & skills. I like to call this your strengths zone.
Below this strengths zone are your middle strengths (middle 50-70%) - these are talents that may be unrealized, underdeveloped, or underutilized. I call this your strengths development zone. These are also called your hidden strengths as they may not be as obvious as your top 20% natural strengths. However, with some investment, they can be just as powerful as your natural strengths.
The lower 10-40% of range are your weaknesses or liabilities. This is what I call your depletion zone. They are activities and traits that you should not spend developing; in fact, you'll usually need to strategize ways to manage or neutralize these areas so that they don't drain your energy or frustrate you. No matter how much investment you make in this zone, you will not see success from it. You may avoid failure, but you won't see the success you desire. So, my recommendation is to manage this area as best as possible and devote most of your energy to developing your middle and top strengths instead.
Download my Daily Strengths Zone printable planner page (from The Strong Business Planner™) which let's you see where your daily activities lie in terms of each zone: Strengths Zone, Strengths Development Zone, Depletion Zone. Access it here:
Another activity you can do to look for your hidden strengths is called, "Assets and Liabilities".
assets + liabilities
On a piece of paper, make a line down the middle from top to bottom. On the left, write ASSETS / STRENGTHS, and on the right, write LIABILITIES / WEAKNESSES.
Then, just start brainstorming anything that comes to mind. Your strengths (assets) are activities that you do naturally really well and consistently provide near-perfect performance in. They are activities that energize you, that bring you joy, that you look forward to doing.
Your weaknesses (liabilities) are things that get in your way or that drain your energy. They may be things that frustrate you, annoy you, or that you don't look forward to doing.
After your brain dump, for any liabilities, ask yourself:
- Is this really a weakness/liability, or is there a hidden strength/asset here that I'm not seeing?
- Is this a hidden talent that just needs time and energy devoted to it to become stronger?
- How does this activity or trait make me feel? Why does it make me feel that way?
- If I spent time developing this, how would that make me feel? Am I looking forward to developing it or would I rather drop it altogether?
By answering these questions, you should have an indication on whether it's a hidden strength that should be developed or if it's in your depletion zone.
Leave a comment and tell me - what are some hidden strengths you uncovered? And, what are you doing to develop them?