Julia was a self-described shy introvert who worked in a well-known gym. She loved her job but she was having trouble getting promotions and the clients that she wanted. She knew she had the qualifications and her boss liked her. But she couldn’t seem to make any progress when it came to doing more of what she loved in the gym.
During a company retreat, Julia took a personality quiz as part of a teambuilding exercise. The results took her by surprise, revealing that she was a natural leader who motivated others and encouraged them.
Learning that leadership was one of her strengths changed Julia’s outlook. She began volunteering to lead on more projects at the gym and she became much more confident in her abilities, trusting her own inner voice.
Within six months, Julia had an appraisal with her boss. Instead of walking into her appraisal feeling unsure, she walked in with her natural, quiet confidence. In the meeting she discussed opportunities with her boss, and found that there were several in the pipeline that she was already being considered for.
Many instructors and sports coaches are like Julia. They stumble through life without knowing their strengths. Perhaps you’re one of them. If that’s you, here are a few of the amazing benefits of knowing your strengths…
You Know How to Sell Yourself
When you understand what your strengths are, you can better “sell” yourself to others. You might think this about a complicated sales pitch about why you’re awesome. But it’s so much more than that!
Owning your strengths affects every area of your life. You might change how you dress, what you say, how you say it, and even what body language you use. That’s because you’ll have newfound confidence that comes from knowing your worth.
You Can Compensate for Your Weak Spots
Knowing your strengths will also make you acutely aware of your weaknesses…and this can be a wonderful thing. Because it means you can compensate for them!
Maybe you have an incredible eye for details and you’re good at staying with a task until it’s done. But your weakness is big picture thinking and coming up with innovative, new ideas.
Now that you know this, you can surround yourself with big picture thinkers to compensate. Or you can check in with a mentor or coach who will help you decide what the big picture should look like.
You Can Choose the Right Projects
There’s no such thing as a perfect project but there are projects that are a great fit for you and projects that are a bad fit for you. Once you’re aware of the strengths you possess, you can easily discern the two.
For example, let’s say you’re good with analytics and you do well with reviewing data and making suggestions on how to improve an individuals performance. But you’re not great at rapport building or presenting the information face to face. You might volunteer to be the person on the team who gathers the data but not the one who presents it to the client or customer.
You Know How to Lead
Maybe when you think of leaders, you think of authoritarian types that are frequently featured in the military. Sargent-Majors who bark and shout at their clients. That’s what Julia always thought of when someone mentioned the word “leader”.
But when Julia learned her leadership style was democratic, it changed her approach. She realised there were many different ways to lead teams that didn’t come down to her giving others a “my way or the highway” speech.
You may think you’re not a leader, but anyone can become one. It’s simply a matter of discovering your leadership style and playing to that strength.
You Can Radiate Confidence
The more you know about your strengths, the easier it is to feel confident about yourself. That’s because you’re aware of what you’re bringing to the table and how you best function within your family, workplace, community, or school.
It’s empowering when you can define your “special sauce”. You understand that you bring value simply by showing up and you trust that you can be helpful to a variety of people.
You Can Develop Your Strengths
Just as you can compensate for your weak points, you can also begin focusing on your strengths. You can look for ways to actively make them even stronger so you can shine your best self.
For example if you know you’re great at strategic thinking, you may begin looking for opportunities to learn even more about strategy, find new ways to apply your thinking skills, and even help those that struggle with this ability. Health and fitness is more than doing 50 squats and bench-pressing 100lbs.
You Can Mentor Others
Anyone can become a mentor. But the best mentors know where they shine, and they focus on helping others shine in the same area. You might be an amazing public speaker and take a colleague under your wing who struggles with this skill.
Perhaps you’re highly creative and good when it comes to choosing colours. You could help your friend who’s looking to rebrand her business or help your neighbour who wants to update her wardrobe.
There are many different opportunities to mentor others when you stop to look for them. It’s fun to learn how to apply your strengths in a variety of different situations that allow you to encourage someone else.
You Can Barter More Effectively
You hate writing the company newsletter, but you love the chance to crunch the numbers. When you know your strengths, you can look for others who are weak in those areas and barter with them.
But if you don’t know where you shine, you might barter your way into a task you hate and wonder why it’s so hard for you (hint: you’re not in your Zone of Genius!).
You Can Better Manage Challenges
Everyone faces setbacks, disappointments, or challenges at some point in their lives. Maybe you didn’t get accepted into the college you wanted. Perhaps your boss didn’t pick you for the project you wanted to work on. Maybe the client went in a new direction and is no longer interested in your concept.
These moments all sting. But when you understand your value, it’s easier to manage these challenges. You can approach them with a “can-do” mindset and find an alternative that will work just as well (or even better) than your original plan.
You Can Build Better Teams
It’s easier to build teams and help others grow once you know your strengths. That’s because as your self-awareness develops, you’ll begin seeing where others are skilled and what their talents are.
Once Julia realised her gift for leadership, she also started to recognize other people’s gifts. She realized her co-worker was a visionary and often asked for her advice when she wanted creative solutions to problems. Another co-worker was an excellent communicator, so Julia often relied on her as the spokesperson when she needed to talk with another department head.
You Accept Yourself
Perhaps the most exciting benefit of learning your strengths is that you begin to accept yourself. Instead of berating yourself when you fail at something, it becomes an opportunity to evaluate your weaknesses.
You think about your gifts when choosing your projects and joining teams. You know what you bring to the table and you’re able to use it for the good of your organization, community, or family.
The World Needs Your Super Powers!
Don’t be like Julia, and wait until you’re “discovered”.
You might believe that determining your superpowers is something that just happens. It’s not. The more you understand where your gifts lie, the more you can give back to the world around you.
Every time you show up, you can do so with confidence, gusto, and excitement. You get to bring the very best version of yourself into everything that you do. And this is a superpower in itself!