Have you ever noticed how much we focus on our weaknesses?
Really, just think about it.
We each have so many powerful strengths.
We all have such value to bring to the table.
But for some reason, we fixate on our weaknesses and all of the “room for improvement.”
And while I’m all for tending to those areas that need work…
I also think we need to spend a bit more time both celebrating and building upon the strengths we have naturally.
Not only because of the value it offers, but because we’ll enjoy doing it!
If you’re ready to discover your strengths and incorporate them in more areas of your life, then you’re in the right place.
Check out episode 49 above, or stream it from your favorite podcasting app!
Prefer to read? Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL DISCOVER…
- Simple strategies to recognize your inherent strengths
- The importance of honing and building upon your strengths
- How to incorporate your strengths more often throughout your daily life
LINKS FROM THE PODCAST
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How to Use Your Strengths and Weaknesses For Massive Success (Transcript)
Hey everybody. How’s it going today? Thanks for joining me on episode 49 of the podcast.
This week we are talking about how to use both our strengths and our weaknesses to help us move forward and grow. And more specifically, I’m sharing a different perspective on how to look at both our strengths and weaknesses in order to help us:
- Recognize what we have to bring to the table
- Understand how we can use our strengths to help us move forward in those areas where we might struggle.
Now I’ve been thinking about this topic of strengths and weaknesses for quite a while. I’ve been doing a lot of research on how to hone your strengths and how to incorporate them more often in your life.
And in fact, in my coaching program for women with ADHD, we spend a whole week diving into our strengths. We find ways to use them to our advantage to uplevel all areas of our life. Because for a lot of people with ADHD, we tend to focus on what we lack. We focus on the areas where we can’t seem to keep up with “other people.” And I found that it’s so valuable to take that step back and help my clients see those areas where they really thrive. And help them take ownership over the incredible superpowers they really have to offer.
And I was talking about this with a friend of mine the other day. I was explaining this new way of thinking about strengths and weaknesses that I’ve been playing around with, and I thought I would take some time to record and share this new viewpoint with you as well.
We Focus On Our Weaknesses
Because, quite frankly, whether you have ADHD or not, we all tend to get hung up on our weaknesses instead of our strengths. I think many of us struggle to recognize what we bring to the table because oftentimes our strengths come pretty naturally. And we don’t recognize that what we have to offer is super unique and a talent that other people might have to work quite hard to reach the same level we’re at naturally.
What’s more, we find ourselves focusing so much on weaknesses. While we will even come at them with a more positive spin – and we called them areas for improvement — we’re still not taking the time to build upon what comes naturally. We’re not taking time to really take our areas of strength – our superpowers – to the next level.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work on areas that need improvement. If there are areas in your life where you want to work and grow and learn, that’s amazing. And I’m all in. Do it. What I am saying, however, is that by recognizing your strengths, and knowing them ahead of time, you can find ways to use them to your advantage. And you can use these strengths in all different areas of your life in order to help you succeed at whatever you’re doing.
The Importance of Recognizing Your Strengths
It kind of makes me think about when I tried playing basketball in intermediate and Middle School. “Tried” being the key word here. I’m not going to lie. I was not good. Now, I played for a couple of years. And I had fun running around the court with my friends. And I learned enough to understand how the game was played. But I certainly didn’t Focus solely on basketball because it was clearly an area with room for improvement. I knew enough to understand the game and have fun with my friends, which was all I cared about. And then I put my real focus and my energy into other areas that I both enjoyed and excelled, which for me was music. What’s more, it continued to be music through high school, college, and grad school.
And I realize that extracurriculars in middle school is not necessarily the same as our big picture strengths and weaknesses, but it helps me make illustrate the point I’m trying to make here. Which is, there’s so much value in understanding what you bring to the table. And while it’s great to have your bases covered. And it’s useful to know that you can hold your own in the different areas, it’s also so powerful to own your strengths. Because not only does it come more easily, you also probably enjoy doing it.
There is something so powerful in not only understanding what you have to offer but also learning how you can continue capitalizing on those abilities so you really shine. and then on top of that, figuring out ways that you can weave these strengths into different projects at work, managing things at home, and showing up in your different relationships. I’m telling you. When you own your strength, it’s really a game-changer.
How to Find Your Strengths
So how do we do this? How do we tap into our strength areas, especially if this is something we’re not used to doing? And how can you build on your strengths when you’re so used to focusing on your weaknesses?
So there are many different ways that you can do this, and I want to talk about a handful of them today.
And the first way is to start getting curious and ask yourself questions. You all know how much I value powerful questions, right?
I’m going to offer several questions that I love to ask my clients, and I encourage you to just grab a notebook and do some reflective journaling on what comes up in response.
So the first question is, what do I love spending my time doing? What do you find yourself doing – or wanting to do — when it’s your choice? And you can narrow this down both at home and at work. If you’re at work, are there certain responsibilities that you really enjoy? Are there certain components of your job that completely light you up and you get excited to do? Similarly, or their activities you like to do at home, do you have hobbies or groups that you are involved with? What do you love to do with your time?
And then building on that, I love to ask: when do you often lose track of time? When is it that you’re so absorbed in a project or an activity or an experience that you can’t believe the time went by so quickly?
For me, it’s always getting on calls with my clients. It’s like the session starts, and then all the sudden 60 minutes is up. And similarly, I notice this happen when I am creating content for my programs or the podcast. those are the things that I love doing, and time absolutely flies by. And when I think about other areas of my strength that time flies by, I see how they fit into some of my top strengths of creativity, of social intelligence, and my love of learning.
As a side note, I’m getting these strength terms from a researcher named Chris Peterson who led this team over 3 years to better understand human nature and different characteristics of people. He and his team wrote this book called character strengths and virtues, and they break down their findings into 24 different character strengths that are most widely presented throughout time and in all cultures in the world.
What they argue is that all 24 of these strengths exist in every person and that some are simply more prominent, and stronger in some individuals than others.
And again, this isn’t about ignoring the negative, or overlook the weaknesses. But it’s about really celebrating what you have to offer.
Items to Search
And if you want to know more about this, there are a whole bunch of resources online. You can just type in Google 24 character strengths or strengths test. And if you like personality tests, there is a great free survey by the VIA character Institute, which is a fun way to help you recognize where are some of your strengths lie, especially if you have a hard time recognizing them yourself. Again, it’s called The VIA character Institute. You can just Google them and it’ll show up right there for you. I’ll also link to them in the show notes.
And one more question I’ll offer for you to explore is when do people ask for your help? Do you often find that people come to you when they are struggling with something? Is there a pattern there? Once again, we often don’t see our superpower, but other people recognize it in us pretty quickly. So if you have people who ask you questions, or come to you for help, or need your guidance, chances are — you offer some additional strength in that area.
What Would A Friend Say?
And taking that question from a different angle, if you are struggling to answer these questions I offered, you can also ask somebody who knows you well. Perhaps you ask a partner or your best friend. Or you ask a co-worker or your boss. What would they say? What do people always tell you you’re good at? Where do you often hear compliments? If I asked your best friend or your partner, “Hey, when do you think she’s most energized? When is she in her zone of Genius? What does she love doing with her spare time?” What would your friends tell me? Sometimes getting that outside perspective is incredibly valuable as well.
Now, the last way that I love to rethink our strengths and weaknesses, is a little bit different from the normal. But I love the power of this next perspective. I think that it’s really helpful in getting us out of the negative mindset of focusing solely on our weaknesses, and it gets us really thinking more carefully about what we have to offer.
Strengths In Overdrive
And here’s the idea. We often dwell on our weaknesses. And we think that these weaknesses are absolutely dragging us down. But what if, in some situations, our weaknesses are really just our strengths in overdrive?
And hear me out for a second. I know this sounds weird. But I think it’s a really interesting question.
So let me explain an area where this applies to me so I can give you a concrete example.
One of the things that I used to struggle with a lot was putting the finishing touches on a project. I can remember even when I was really little, I would drive my dad crazy because we would be halfway through one project or activity, and I’d be asking him, what are we doing next? I’d be jumping from one shiny thing to the next, and I had a hard time following through all the way to the end of a project.
And as I got older, this drove me crazy, too. I used to feel really bad about it. I used to get really discouraged. Because I had all of these projects that were 85 or 90% done, but none of them we’re completely finished.
Now, I did work on that. And I learned the strategies and the tools that I needed so that I can actually complete projects. But at the same time, what I saw as a major weakness at the time, was actually one of my strengths in overdrive.
Because one of my strengths is coming up with incredible ideas. I have so many ideas for courses, and podcasts, and social media posts. And I have lists of things that I want to do around the house, and books I want to read, and projects I want to create. I’m like this idea machine. And I love that.
In fact, I now see it as an incredible strength that I bring to the table rather than a weakness that distracts me. Because once I learned how to reign in my ideas and capture them all safely in a google doc so that I don’t forget them, and I learned how to follow through and finish my projects. Then I could choose from this wealth of ideas – that I do modestly titled my brilliant ideas list – as I start the next project.
So again, I saw it once as a weakness, but the reality is that it was just my strength and overdrive. And once I learned how to use it to my advantage, I could really capitalize on it.
Or maybe you are a person who struggles to stick to a schedule. You really push back against the idea of a calendar, and you basically rebel against the idea of having anything on your calendar.
Now on the surface, you might see this as a weakness. In fact, maybe you use it as a reason to beat yourself up because you find yourself double-booking appointments, or you’re in this constant state of high alert with surprise deadlines. And since we are so used to focusing on our weaknesses, and finding flaws, it’s natural that your brain would go here.
But let me offer you the other perspective. And that alternative perspective is that you are an incredibly flexible person. You are able to roll with the punches. You’re quick on your feet. And you learn how to adapt to changing situations because you can think on the fly, and work quickly. These are incredibly powerful strengths.
An Alternative Approach
So rather than constantly berating yourself, maybe we focus on figuring out how to use your flexibility to your advantage. How can we combine your flexibility with a tool or a strategy that allows you to keep track of appointments and your due dates in a way that works?
In other words, rather than thinking you have to change everything about how you approach your day-to-day because of all these perceived weaknesses, maybe you just need to make a couple of little tweaks to help everything click into place.
And then once you have these strengths locked in. Once you’ve explored these questions we’ve talked about, or you’ve asked close friend or a partner or colleague to offer their Insight. Maybe you’ve taken a strength finder quiz or you look into those 24 different character strengths, then it’s time to put these strengths into action.
Incorporate Your Strengths Through Habit
How can you take your talents and introduce them into your day-to-day life more frequently? Take some time and explore that question. How can you incorporate your strengths more often? If one of your strengths is curiosity, how can you start incorporating more research into your work or start learning a new skill for either your job or out of sheer interest? If you have a strength of leadership, how can you start incorporating more leadership opportunities either in your job, or in your community?
What can you do to bring what you possess naturally into your everyday life more often? Because I’m telling you, doing so will not only raise your level of enjoyment, but it’s going to produce so much value for both yourself and everyone else around you.
You’ve been around people when they’re in their Flow State, right? You know how much fun it is to be around those people. They’re glowing. They’re so excited about doing what they love in different ways each day.
And the most exciting news that I can offer you, is that you can find ways to have these moments in your life too. It just takes a little bit of exploration, maybe a little bit of thinking outside the box, and the willingness to give it a try. A willingness to own those strengths and share them with others.
Have ADHD? Let’s Talk!
Now, a couple of episodes ago, I mentioned that I have ADHD, and I got such a rather surprising number of responses from people who either have ADHD themselves or they know someone who has ADHD, or their child does. And first of all, it was so fun to hear from you. And second of all, if you are interested in taking this work further, and if you are interested in really honing your strengths and finding ways to bring them to the foreground to up-level your life, we should absolutely talk.
I’d love to hear about where you’re at, what you’re struggling with, and we can talk about whether my ADHD coaching program is a great fit to help you start making those shifts and celebrating all of the amazing value you have to offer. So if you’re interested, just head to imbusybeingawesome.com/freesession, grab a time that works for you, and we will talk.