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July 19, 2022, by Leah Sharpe

Knowing and Using Your Strengths: The Secret to Success and Happiness!

By Cyrielle Mevel, Employability Education Projects Officer

People often talk about skills and strengths as if they were interchangeable when, in reality, they are not to be confused. Yes, we do them both well, but they don’t always support our wellbeing in the same way.

So, what are strengths exactly and how can they support your career wellbeing?

What are strengths?

Your strengths are the things that you do well and the things that come naturally to you. In opposition, skills are things that we have learned to do through repetition. Things we have been trained to do. Strengths energise and motivate you, they make you feel good about yourself! What could be better than that?

As a result, you tend to use them often however, you want to make sure that you don’t overplay them as otherwise they may become draining. Sometimes, for whatever reasons, you don’t use some of them as much. If this is the case, you may want to explore why and whether you want to dial up some of them to achieve your career goals.

What are the benefits of knowing your strengths?

In the recruitment process, if you know your strengths, you are more likely to share them and be open about what motivates you. If you work on your self-awareness, you are more likely to answer interview questions authentically, especially when they are strengths-based, and the assessors will notice it.

When you transition in the workplace, a lot of research shows that knowing your strengths is highly beneficial, not only for you as an employee, but for the organisation as well.

According to Cappfinity, the training organisation that has created the Strengths Development Model, you are likely to:

  • Be happier and more confident
  • Have higher energy and increased productivity
  • Have reduced stress and increased resilience
  • Achieve your goals
  • Develop faster in areas of strength
  • Feel more confident in your career decisions

So, in other words, your strengths-awareness will help you:

  • Adapt to your new role and develop a greater sense of belonging
  • Progress in your role and manage change effectively
  • Be a great team player as you communicate your strengths and can complement others
  • Have a greater sense of wellbeing and happiness!

What are you waiting for?

How to identify and use your strengths?

There are simple activities you can try to identify your strengths:

– Childhood memories: what do you remember doing as a child that you still do now?

– Energy: what activities give you an energetic buzz?

– Authenticity: when do you feel most like the “real you”?

– Ease: what activities come naturally to you and at which you excel?

– Attention: what do you naturally pay attention to?

– Rapid learning: what are the things that you have picked up quickly, learning them almost effortlessly?

– Motivation: what motivates you?

– Voice: do you notice a shift of the tone of your voice when you talk about something?

– Words and phrases: listen to the words you use like “I love to” or “It’s just great when”

– What are the things that never end up on your “To do” lists?

Now that you have identified some of your strengths, consider the following:

– Which ones would you love to dial up to support your career wellbeing? How will you do that?

– If you are not currently using them, imagine what you could do if you were! Which ones do you want to use more and how?

– If you are feeling stressed or if you are going through a difficult time, consider how your strengths could help, especially the ones you don’t use as much! Map them against the tasks that are draining you and consider how completing an element of the task can help someone else. View things from a different perspective. Or create a strengths to-do list and team your strengths with something fun that you can do that will support your wellbeing.

– How can you use your strengths to minimise the impact of your weaknesses?

If you need support in exploring your strengths book a one-to-one appointment through MyCareer. From Autumn 2022, we will also be delivering strengths workshops so keep an eye on our website and book onto one of the sessions.

Posted in Career wellbeingCareers Advice