by Mary Macek, M.A.H.E., M.A., PCC,
Harbor EAP Consultant/Coach
It’s common enough in our culture to hear the question “What’s wrong with you?” Most of us know our faults and failings like we know the back of our hand. But have you ever given much thought about the things that are good about you, in other words, your strengths?
I have been struck by this notion in recent interviews with new clients. Asking about strengths is a common assessment question, and it is one that seems to be stumping many. So what I am asking you to do today is to list five of your strengths. Take some time and think about it. What do you really know about yourself as a person?
Some of your most readily identifiable strengths may be related to your work. You have talked about them in job interviews and been evaluated based on them. You may be a hard worker or have particular skills that you have worked to develop. You may be a good communicator or problem solver, to name a few.
How about your life outside of work? Are you a good parent or spouse or friend? You may be caring, supportive and helpful. Are you loyal, considerate and fun to be around? Do you have a particular talent? Are you musical or artistic? Do you have a green thumb or excel at a craft?
If you are having a hard time identifying your strengths, you might ask a friend or family member for input to get you started. There are also personality type indicators you can complete that can aid in your exploration. But beyond the fun of it, there are some important reasons to know your strengths.
Knowledge of our strengths helps us to direct our lives, both work and personal. If I know that I have a talent for math, I can focus my education and possible work choices in that area. If I am aware of my musical talent, I can enrich my own life and those around me by developing that talent. And beyond the practical applications related to knowing our strengths, this knowledge can increase our self esteem.
This is important for us as adults, and it is particularly important for children. I think that helping the children in our lives know about themselves and their gifts is one of the most important things an adult can do. So if you are able to identify your own strengths, share the joy and let your children, your friends and family and your co-workers know what their gifts are too. In a world that is all too quick to tell us what’s wrong with us, it’s helpful to know what’s good.