We all have unique gifts and talents. We’re really good at some things and, well, not so good at others.
For instance, I will never be an opera singer, a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, or an engineer.
Those just aren’t my strengths.
I spent a year and a half majoring in electrical engineering before I finally threw in the towel and recognized my strengths weren’t there.
I had a successful 20-year career as a naval officer, but many times it was frustrating and demoralizing because I never really felt like I “fit.”
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t attempt to grow and learn and become everything you were meant to be.
It means you should honor and lead with your strengths.
Try this exercise.
On a piece of paper, make two columns.
In the left column, list at least ten of your strengths, talents, gifts, and skills. You know, the kind of things that come naturally to you – your genius!
They may be such a part of you that you’ve never really thought of them as strengths before. You probably lose track of time when you do them, or it all just feels like it flows.
In the right column, write down the parts of your work that lend themselves well to that particular strength.
If you said one of your strengths is “listening well” then the parts of your business that are best served by that strength might be “customer follow up” and “networking events.”
What if you have strengths without a matching area in your work or business?
Then get creative.
Develop a business way of showcasing that strength, talent, or skill.
Let’s say one of your strengths (and passions!) is “cooking.” At first glance, you might think it has nothing to do with your business. But answer this question:
“How can I best showcase my talent and love of cooking in my business?”
Maybe you combine a product demonstration with a cooking class.
Or use cooking type words, themes, and symbols as part of your metaphors when explaining complicated concepts in meetings.
Maybe you rebrand yourself a little by adding cooking utensils to your personal brand marketing and how you’re known.
Hey, the “Cooking Lawyer” could be a distinct niche!
Set Yourself Up for Success
You will always do better by leading with your strengths than by trying to do something you were not designed to do.
And it’s a whole lot more fun doing something that lights you up than slogging through another day trying to be someone else.
Sure, you can work on your weaknesses but you’ll just get “better” weaknesses. Why not play to your strengths and enjoy the process at the same time?
If you’re trying to exude confidence in a leadership role without other people thinking you’re a jerk or judging your competence, this is for you.
Throughout much of my 20-year career as a Naval Officer, I didn’t feel the confidence I projected on the outside.
Over time, I learned how to be decisive and effective while still being “me.”
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