How to Discover Your Strengths
Figuring out your strengths is a great way to find a more rewarding job or to become more authentically who you are as a person. It will require a little soul-searching, but don't worry, you can use outside tools to help you, such as career assessment tests. If you want to do it on your own, you'll need to look for the activities and tasks that excite you and fulfill you the most, including new experiences, as engaging your strengths will make you feel energized.
Using Assessment Tools
Try a free assessment at a local school or college.Career centers at schools often offer assessments to help you figure out what your strengths are, which can point you in the right direction. If you're in school, check to see if yours offers one, or look to see if it has one online.
- At a high school, talk to your guidance counselor about testing.
- For instance, you may be given a series of statements like "I seek leadership roles," and asked whether you agree with them or not.
- Often, college career centers will be open to non-students as well, as they want to help the community. You may have to pay a fee if you're not a student, though.
Use a professional assessment to go in depth.Professional assessments do cost money, but they can provide a more thorough assessment than those you may find for free. For instance, they may take a more psychological approach to your analysis than typical online tests. Look for career counseling centers or career assessment centers in your city to find out more.
- Call around and see which centers offer vocational or aptitude tests to discover strengths. You could also try online professional tests, such as the Clifton strengths test. Tests like this one will provide you with a sequence of your strengths.
- These tests provide a deeper analysis, and they may ask you how you respond to certain scenarios, rather than asking for a response to straight-forward statements. In turn, they'll give you a list of your strengths.
- Often, in-person tests can be paired with a coaching or counseling session. These sessions can help you understand the results better and figure out what to do with them.
Take online quizzes for a free, easy option.While online strength tests may not be as thorough as other options, they can still give you a general idea of what your strengths are. Try using more serious sites that are focused on psychology or education, rather than social media-type quizzes.
- For instance, you can try a basic one at or .
- Often, you'll be asked to respond to a series of statements like "I always keep my promises." You'll be asked whether you agree or disagree with the statement.
- Try taking more than 1 to see where they agree on your strengths. That can give you a more accurate picture.
Explore your weaknesses using an assessment.Use any feedback from your assessment to take note of your weaknesses, which are areas you can work on to build into strengths. Understanding areas you can build develop more will help you become more well-rounded.
Examining Your Interests and Skills
Take note of what kinds of tasks make you feel energized.When you're using your strengths, you feel excited and energized. Therefore, if you wake up energized and excited about the tasks ahead for the day, you're likely engaging your strengths throughout the day. If you wake up dreading what's ahead, then you're likely not using your strengths.
- For instance, if you work with children and enjoy your job, your strengths may be teaching and helping others.
- Think about how you feel on different days and what activities or tasks you have for that day. On the days you're energized, what strength and skills are you using?
Watch for what makes you excited.When you are engaging one of your strengths, it shows. You'll feel it in your bones, and you'll feel more energized. Look for the times that you are ready and eager to attack a task, and you'll find one of your strengths is behind it.
- For instance, if you get excited about attacking your linen closet on the weekend, maybe one of your strengths is organization.
- Alternatively, maybe you get excited about leading small group discussion, in which case, maybe your strengths are verbal communication and leadership.
Look for tasks that make you lose your sense of time.Another indicator that you're engaging one of your strengths is you become thoroughly involved in what you're doing to the point that you lose track of time. You start working on something, and you look up after what you think is a few minutes only to find you've been engrossed for hours.
- For example, maybe you decided to work on a crafting project for a few minutes only to realize you've spent several hours doing it. One of your strengths is likely creativity.
- Alternatively, maybe you lose track of time when working on reports. Maybe your strength is organizing information.
- This feeling of losing time is sometimes called "flow."
Notice when you take a different route from other people.Your strengths will make you stand out, so when you notice you're doing something a little differently than others, pay attention. That will likely point to one of your strengths.
- For instance, maybe everyone else stays quiet in a meeting at school or work when the leader asks a question. If you speak up, that may show that one of your strengths is being outgoing or possibly being willing and able to articulate your opinion.
- Alternatively, maybe you notice that you solve a math problem in a different way. Maybe one of your strengths is number manipulation.
Think about the skills that you master the fastest.Consider the last time you mastered a skill with ease. Maybe you learned a new computer skill or succeeded in baking a perfect souffle on the first try. Whatever comes naturally and easy to you is likely one of your key strengths.
Ask friends and family what they think your strengths are.Posing this simple question to people you know may get you some surprising results. You could also ask your boss, colleagues, or peers.
- You could take this approach casually in conversation by saying, "I've been thinking about a new direction in my career, and I'm working on developing my strengths. Would you mind telling me what you think my strengths are?"
- Alternatively, try sending out an email that asks a similar question.
Using New Experiences to Find Strengths
Take on new activities and hobbies.New experiences can give you insights into what your strengths are. Try out new things that you have an interest in, such as classes, clubs, or a new hobby. As you engage in new activities, the way you react to those situations will tell you something about your strengths. Look for the activities that spark your interest and get you excited to find your strengths.
- Practice self-awareness while trying new things to gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses. Although you may not be good at all parts of an activity, there may be specific aspects where you excel.
- For example, try taking a class in a new hobby, such as cooking. As you take the class, you may find that off-the-cuff cooking isn't your thing, but that you organize and plan very well, which makes you an excellent baker.
Ask for cross-training at your job to see what engages you.Sometimes, you may not know what your strengths are until you try them out. Cross-training provides an opportunity to do just that because you can explore different skills and abilities in other departments.
- Most jobs are willing to cross-train people, as that makes you more valuable to the company. You can ask your boss something like, "I'd like to make myself more useful to the company. Is it possible to be cross-trained in other departments?"
- You can ask at any time, but you may want to wait until you're 6 months or so into a new job.
Meet new people to learn your interpersonal strengths.How you interact with people tells you about your interpersonal strengths. When you put yourself in situations where you're meeting and interacting people, pay attention to what comes easily to you and what doesn't to learn about your strengths.
- For example, maybe you decide you aren't great at making small talk. On the other hand, you realize that many people's stories move you very deeply, which means one of your strengths is likely empathy.
- Try taking a new class, joining hobby-focused groups, volunteering, or creating your own book club at your local library to meet people.
QuestionWhat causes inferiority?
Licensed Professional CounselorLicensed Professional CounselorExpert AnswerUsually inferiority is caused by doubt in your abilities and a lack of self-esteem. There may be deeper issues as well that create a sense of inferiority, but they are typically all related to how you see yourself.Thanks!
QuestionHow does using my strengths to set goals help me here if I don't know what those strengths are?
Licensed Professional CounselorLicensed Professional CounselorExpert AnswerTry a reverse method. Find some goals first and then determine what strengths it will take to accomplish those goals. This will give you a clearer picture of your own strengths as well as your weaknesses.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I know my mission on earth?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry everything and try to make a difference in this world.Help people. Make the world a better place.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I rejoin a group that at one time pushed me out?Top AnswererYou need to stand up for yourself. Let them know you think it was wrong to push you away and why. Tell them why you still consider you to be friends and why you want to move past what happened. You don't have to talk to them all together, you can ask to meet just one or two at a time. However, do you really need people in your life who push you out like that? You can talk to them, see what happens, but also say hi to lots of other people, see if you can make some new friends as well.Thanks!
Video: 5 Questions to Discover Your Strengths
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