Editor’s note: This is part of 30-day challenge series written by Hanane Anouna. You can follow along and read the full series here.
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Your values will give you direction and your strengths will empower you to accomplish your goals. Being aware of your strengths and your weaknesses don’t concern only candidates who need to prepare for their interviews, but it involves any person willing to go through a complete revamp of the self, or invest on his or her self-improvement.
What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths? Which question is easier to answer?
Based on my personal experience, most people even leaders in their fields are uncomfortable when it comes to sharing their greatest strengths but they feel more at ease when talking about their weaknesses.
I presume that our educational system and the way we were raised have a great role to play in here. Both often emphasized on what was bad and not what was great, and on what did not function instead of highlighting what functioned.
That’s why I like positive psychology and I try to apply it in all areas of my life. But first, let me explain the difference between the two:
Positive psychology is a new field that focuses more on raising human potential, strengths and aspirations. It looks more at the positive part of the human behavior like happiness, optimism, and well-being. The traditional Psychology focuses mainly on pain, negative emotions, trauma, or simply what it does not work in our lives to try understand the sources of the problems.
This does not deny the role of psychologists as they still have a major role to play when it comes to pathologies.
In this article, I invite you for two major activities: the first one will cover your major strengths (24 character strengths) and will give you a global picture, and another activity that most of you may already know is called the swot analysis, which remains more specific.
What Are Your Greatest Strengths?
Positive psychology came with a complete list of 24 character strengths, which is universal across cultures and can be split into six categories: wisdom, courage, humanity and love, justice, temperance, and transcendence.
Try to look at this list of 24 strengths character and reflect on it. Try to use a scale from 1 to 10 to rate yourself.
The Benefits of Listing Your Strengths
Assessing your strengths isn’t a luxury anymore or a fun test that you do to discover something more about you or reconfirm what you already know.
Focusing on your strengths proved to have a direct connection with happiness.
Encouraging students and children to talk about their strengths can be very empowering and can improve their self-esteem and confidence.
Focusing on the positive skills of your team also proved an increase in productivity by up to 34%.
This can also increase your positive vocabulary and positive self-talk.
Prepare Your SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is a method used in any business or in marketing management to identify internal and external aspects about the product of the activity. It stands for: S = Strengths; W = Weaknesses; O = Opportunities; T = Threats. This exercise can also be applicable for individuals seeking self-improvement.
I used this assessment in marketing for more than 10 years. When I applied this approach for my own personal growth, I realized that I had many other passions and talents to explore beyond working for others.
The aim of the SWOT matrix is not only to identify your strengths, but to find out about your uniqueness that can set you apart from the others. It can also help you identify your weaknesses and set up a plan to overcome them.
This matrix also implies an external side that has to do with uncovering your opportunities and identifying your threats.
Before starting a SWOT analysis, ask yourself the reason behind it. Do you want a new job? A new evolution in your current position or new transition? Are you simply looking for personal growth?
The SWOT exercise is not simply a random list of all your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats as they need to be lined up with your objective. It may differ from one to another and should be done at least twice or three times.
The process to get a successful personal SWOT:
List your strengths.
How are you different from the others? Do you have any natural born talents? What are the skills that others don’t have including your education, or certifications? What others think about your strengths? What are you proud of?
Your strengths can be your technical skills acquired from education and experience, your transferable skills like planning and analytical skills, or your soft skills.
Define your weaknesses.
To learn more about your weaknesses, think about the tasks that you usually avoid as you don’t feel confident doing them. What are the negative work habits that you need to improve? Maybe you are bad at organization or planning. Do you have any personality characteristics that can set you back from achieving your goals?
Again this exercise should be lined up with your objective and not only a list that you need to draw.
Uncover your opportunities.
For this part, you will have to look at the external opportunities or factors that you can take advantage from them to sustain your career direction. This may include an introduction of a new technology or an evolution in the industry. The opportunities can be among your connections or contacts that can help you grow and evolve.
Know about your threats.
The threats are about the obstacles that may hinder you from achieving your goals including your competitors or any new technology that may require an adaption to carry. This part accounts for the external factors as you cannot control them. But if you don’t anticipate and work on them, they may control you.
What are the external risks to your goals? What obstacles do you have to handle at work? Is your job or the technology you are using are changing? Do you have any weaknesses that may lead to threats?
Find out about your uniqueness and don’t settle for less than who you are.