How well you know yourself?

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You need to be the best you can at describing your best qualities; particularly your key strengths. In my coaching practice I generally, at some point, ask my client: "What are you good at?" purely as a means to establish if they have already thought through this most important question.

Some have, but more often they haven't and the answer usually involves lots of head-scratching, umms and arrhs and then quite often a monologue on what they're NOT good at!!

Your answer to this should be your key strengths statement which we talked about in personal marketing on my website - let me remind you.

A "Key Strengths" statement is a summary of your most powerful skills and attributes.

The Key Strengths statement

  • Highlights your most important skills and abilities
  • Differentiates you from others
  • Avoids generalisations
  • Provides examples of your achievements
  • Spoken naturally should take no more than two minutes

Of course at interview, the question may take many different forms:

"What are your main strengths?"

"why should we hire you?"

"what do you think makes you the best candidate?

"convince me you're the right person for us"

"how do your skills match our particular needs?"

As with all your Presentation Statements it should be so well rehearsed that it sounds completely spontaneous.

This streamate example I've given you here should get you thinking so give your Key Strengths statement some thought now.

"I have very good jasmin live skills; I work well either leading or being part of a team and I am self-motivated and capable of working on several tasks at once.

As a leader of small teams I involve people in the decisions so that they feel involved and ensure they have the opportunity to contribute to jasmin cams tasks facing the team. I manage the information, plan and organise and make the decisions as required.

With my strong jasmin cam skills, I have been able to motivate the staff to higher standards of performance meaning we have also helped our profits figures through increased sales and tighter cost-control.

Alongside this I have encouraged jasminelive innovation and my team has produced several very good ideas for new products, services and markets. As an example the new widget has taken off in Eastern Europe and is contributing 7% of profits in less than 18 months.

Most importantly I actively seek to develop members of my team for their own careers sake but also for the future of the business itself. This means I also look for personal development opportunities to ensure my skills are kept up to date."

If you refer to the sample CVs and resumes page on my website, sample resume #1 is for a Chief Engineer. The Key Strengths statement from him might go like this:

"I have very good communication skills and work across all departments to ensure that issues are identified and practical solutions are prepared. Coupled with my project management skills and my hands-on leadership style I am able to consistently deliver and commission projects on time and to budget.

I am focused on internal and external customer's needs, rather than purely functional needs and I apply specialist skills in continuous improvement and world class manufacturing to increase efficiency, reduce waste and losses due to downtime.

As Chief Engineer I have initiated and managed strategic change programmes and implemented effective quality improvement programs all the way through to successful local level implementation. This has led to savings of £750k per annum and helps to maintain the position and financial strength of my employer".

These key strengths statements naturally answer many of the interviewers questions whilst being reassuring in content. You will find though, that they will create new questions for the interviewer, so be aware that you must be able to substantiate everything you claim.

Try working on your own statement using your own words and skills, blending them together to create a strong "key strengths" statement to meet your needs.

You'll be surprised how often you use this one!!

How To Find Your Strengths

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Finding your strengths and weaknesses is part and parcel of developing yourself. With a better understanding of your abilities, expressing your life purpose using skills that you're good at becomes easier.

As you start to uncover your strengths and weaknesses, you'll also start to understand what you can naturally do to express the creation of your purpose. You don't see an elephant trying to fly, do you? Or an eagle trying to swim? They do what comes to them naturally, because that's who they are. They are just "being".

So How Do We Define What A Strength Is?

A strength consists of 4 components:

1. Your natural talent & abilities

2. The education you had

3. Your experiences in life, either working or otherwise

4. Your skills

Natural talent and abilities are something that you tend to do so naturally you don't realize that you're good at it. It happens to everybody all the time. When you're able to do something so well so naturally that when someone else who tries to do the same screws things up, you don't "understand" why other people just can't do something so simple!

Your education helps to build your strength, because it gives you additional background and knowledge that others might not have. With proper and deliberate practice, you can build a competency based on your education simply because everyone else doesn't know what you know!

Your experiences in life contribute in the building and development of your strengths. Experiences give you a real life participation to understand the actual events and requirements to make something happen. It's easy to say "build an internet business", but it's another thing to actually do it. The detailed work and implementation involved comes with experience.

Skills are something that we aren't born with. Skills are abilities that you hone and polish over time, continually and deliberately refining your ability to execute till you do it unconsciously with a high degree of competency. Like Tiger Woods, who practices almost from morning to night to hone his skills in golf, or Michael Jordan who would spend time building and developing his basic basketball skills to high degrees of competency.

When you are able to combine these 4 components together, that's where you get your strengths.

Here is an exercise you can use to find your Strengths.

Exercise: Finding Your Strengths

On a daily basis, take a piece of paper and write down what you think your top 10 - 15 strengths are. Just take note of what you do naturally, and what you enjoy doing. During the process, you'll experience several "aha!" moments about what your strengths are, and you'll find that you tend to write certain things over and over again, indicating to you that you already "know" your strengths, just that you weren't consciously aware of them.

After 2 - 3 weeks, compile your notes and look for the items that keep coming up over and over again. These are very likely what you think your strengths are.

You are special...

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I know that you have made the choice to do things differently this year. You are no longer going to accept unsatisfying results, where you feel like you are putting in the long hours, but nothing ever seems to change. It is now time to unleash your magnificence and to awaken that achiever who stares back at you from the mirror each day, light the fire of inspiration and desire under your feet and pull the trigger on your potential. You are an important part of this amazing world and a contributive being, with so much to offer and no matter where you are right now; you can achieve anything if you unlock your inner most belief.

Your level of self-belief and the conversations you have with yourself has a tremendous impact on the outcomes you will enjoy in your life. You are the creator of your future, you write the script of your life with every thought you think, word you speak and action you take or fail to take. The more self-belief, self-worth and love you have for yourself, the more prosperity and success you will achieve. You can never truly believe in your-self or have a complete understanding of your real value, unless you conduct a real in-depth audit of your strengths, weaknesses, skills, abilities, opportunities and threats.

Before you begin crucial process of formulating a plan for creating the future that is aligned with your concept of success and your vision for the future, you must first have the courage and foresight to conduct an audit of your current assets and liabilities.

Action Idea:Select five to ten people that you trust and that are secure enough to offer you honest feedback and meaningful input. Ask them to offer you honest answers to the following questions

  • What distinct advantages or strengths do you think I have?
  • What weaknesses do you see me exhibit?
  • Where do you think I have unique leverage or gearing?
  • What skills do you think I am lacking?
  • What knowledge do you think I need to acquire?
  • What weaknesses do you believe I have and how can I reduce their effect on my future outcomes?
  • Who can I get to help me in the areas where I have weaknesses?
  • What potential hazards do you think lie ahead?
  • What opportunities can you see that I am missing?

Collate all the answers you receive and try to see the pattern that will emerge from these interviews. Use this information and feedback as a starting point for uncovering your strengths, weaknesses and potential threats and opportunities. Armed with this information now answer the above questions yourself. As you go through this process you will gradually develop a crystal picture of your magnificence and understand challenges you may be facing. Work on improving your strengths, get people to assist you with your weaknesses, prepare for any opportunities and manage any threats you may be facing. You can never start on any journey toward success, unless you know what you have available to you right now and what skills, abilities or knowledge you wil need to acquire along the way.

This is always the starting point when you want to formulate a plan to perform a turnaround on your life. Before you can take the first step toward making positive changes, you must first assess where you stand. Explore all your current assets and liabilities. Explore any strengths and unforeseen or underdeveloped opportunities. Take a real hard look at any weaknesses and identify where the most damaging threats are coming from. This assessment is very effective and necessary to perform a successful turnaround on your life and works as an effective starting point to accelerate your life toward becoming a super achiever.

After conducting this self-audit you will have positioned yourself to play to your strengths and avoid your weaknesses. History has shown that we are far more likely to succeed, when we use our innate strengths and unique talents to the maximum. The secret to apply this simple, yet very effective strategy is to do enough due diligence on your skill sets, to discover your significant areas of advantage. The time invested into discovering and improving your unique strengths and talents will be well worth the effort and will offer significant returns over time.

Knowing your weaknesses allows you to build a plan that will allow you to work around those limiting traits. You can do this either by improving, avoiding or getting people with those strengths to assist you in those specific areas. This knowledge will help you thrive and avoid very expensive and painful setbacks.

There are many opportunities surrounding us all the time. Unless you are constantly looking for them they may go unnoticed. Be vigilant and always be on the lookout for the advantages or opportunities that may be staring you in the face.

Invest time into discovering where the landmines or threats are lying hidden, before you enter the battlefield of becoming a super achiever. It is seldom the lack of opportunities that will slow or stop your progress toward becoming a super achiever. It is rather the constant barrage of unplanned and unforeseen challenges that may cross your path. Do not allow your lack of threat assessment to catch you off guard. Challenges are inevitable, so expect them, plan for them and never allow them to overwhelm you.

Stay committed to your personal growth and constantly look for ways to improve and expand. Have the courage to take daily inspired action and you will eventually break out of the rut and take your life to the next level of super achievement.

What you were good at?

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If someone asked you what you were good at, what would be your response? Would you find it easy to tell people what your qualities are, or would you mutter, gasp or change the subject very quickly? Generally people struggle to understand or articulate their strengths and their skills, what they are good at and where they excel. Many people find it easier to talk about their weaknesses. You may find yourself saying 'I can't do this', 'I'm no good at that', or put yourself down, and find it hard to accept that you do have strengths and abilities. Or perhaps you haven't ever thought about this subject before.

Understanding your strengths and your skills shouldn't just be confined to the time that you are in a job interview or writing a business plan when you need to state in what areas you excel, but are an important part of your career or business success.

Strengths are the qualities and characteristics you demonstrate, which may include areas such as patience, determination or drive, and skills include your ability to do certain activities well.

If you know what you are good at you can behave accordingly and make the most of your abilities, and if you know what you are not so good at, you can either take steps to improve these areas or ditch or delegate these tasks to others!

Knowing your strengths can help you in your career or your business in the following ways:

  • You can develop a career that takes advantage of your qualities and talents.
  • You can find out how you can stand out from the crowd.
  • In business, you can develop a niche in your marketplace and distinguish yourself from your competitors.
  • You will know how you can present a positive image to new employers or clients.
  • You know what work you are going to be good at and when you need delegate work to others.
  • You can focus on how you can develop your weaknesses.

So do you really know what you are good at?

If you've said yes, that's great news. How do you know what you are good at and how do you make the most of these strengths?

If you've said no, what would help you to make the most of you? Here are my top tips to find out.

1. Complete a personal SWOT analysis - taking a large piece of paper, break it down into four areas labelled strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, then reflect on each area and complete the grid.

2. Reflect on activities and events during your life - review what have been your strengths during these times and if you have one, record these strengths in your success diary.

3. Think about the strengths that you exhibit at work or in your business.

4. Ask your friends, family or colleagues to tell you what you are good at - you may find this difficult, but often other people will see things that you don't see yourself.

5. Take a personality profile, one that I use is the DISC personal profile and there are other personality profiles you can complete online.

So go on start to recognise and celebrate your strengths today.

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