Strong points come in two forms. Some strong points are skills (also known as talents) and can include anything from piano tuning to a great golf swing. Other strengths, sometimes referred to as moral traits, include more intrinsic characteristics such as leadership, ingenuity, self-control and forgiveness. Both types are critical to your success as a solo professional.

Follow these steps to capitalise on your strengths.

Step 1

Make a list of your strong points, both your talents and your moral traits. Get out the coloured markers and blank paper and get writing. Take a look at the following for inspiration.

Talents - any skill that you have, including physical or manual skills, such as repairing things, creative arts or typing; intellectual skills such as problem-solving, specific knowledge or good organisation; and social skills such as people-pleasing, facilitation or networking.

Traits – any characteristics that others may use to describe you or your style. These could include curiosity, critical thinking, open-mindedness, ingenuity, street smarts, perspective, courage, perseverance, genuineness, generosity, teamwork, leadership, self-control, discretion, a sense of humour, flexibility or enthusiasm.

Step 2

When you’ve finished your list, display it somewhere obvious; somewhere you can see it when you’re working. Refer to it regularly and when you do ask yourself, ‘Am I playing to my strengths?’ If you are, fantastic! Keep going. If not, ask yourself, ‘What can I do right now that will get me back on track?’ Then go ahead and do it!

Step 3

Make sure that you refer to your list not only when opportunities come your way, but also in pursuit of new work. It can help shape your vision and get you clear on what you do and don’t want to work on.

Finally, don’t forget that your list may change as you think of more accurate adjectives or if you change your mind about certain traits and talents. Make sure you keep your list up to date and treat it as a working document. If you don’t like the idea of scratching words out or re-writing your list, try using a whiteboard. Give yourself the flexibility to explore what works for you.

Click here to read part 1 on called Make better business decisions: Know your strong points.

“ Make a list of your strong points, both your talents and your moral traits. ”
 
Ellen Jackson

Ellen Jackson is a consultant psychologist specialising in people at work. She is also co-author of Turning 30: How to Get the Life You Really Want.

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