It is difficult to make a plan to improve yourself if you don’t know what strengths you use on a daily basis that can use a spruce-up or a total revamp. Take an inventory to learn about and identify your strengths, right here, right now!
Putting together a personal development plan can seem daunting. It can feel overwhelming to put together a list of personal priorities for the future when the present feels uncertain. How do I know who I want to be six months or a year from now when I am trying to keep myself afloat right now?
I know this from personal experience.
In the two years, I have had to adjust how I thought about my own personal and professional development. No longer relying on an employer paying for my professional development, or asking me to complete a self-assessment once a year, or even having anyone give me feedback on the work I am doing, I have had to figure out what to do next all on my own.
Coupled with trying to kick-start a new business, manage a never-ending job search, and learning to pivot my skills in the middle of a pandemic – well, it’s a wonder I can look past the next hour much less the next month or more.
But I believe we all have the capacity to at least think about the here and now. We can one thing, something, that will propel us forward to meet our goals. This post will be part of a series: in this post, I will address how to identify your personal strengths to work on, right here, right now.
Lesson Learned: Identify Your Strengths to Access Personal Power
I have written about previously about using personal assessment inventories as part of a professional development plan. I prefer using the DISC and the StrengthsFinder inventories for different reasons. The DISC is great when you’re trying to discover how your strengths operate in a team setting, while the StrenghsFinder is great when you’re working independently and may run into a wider variety of types in your work.
But I didn’t always have this sense of clarity.
I worked in an office that did not value my contributions. I have written about this office environment before, and how one of the ways I was able to assert my work style into the office environment. But now I am going to dig deeper into the story about how I made this happen.
Doing the DiSC for the First Time
A few years into my career, I had to learn how to facilitate the DiSC Inventory. Discovering this assessment was a revelation. Prior to learning how to facilitate this inventory, I hadn’t thought of how my strengths impacted the team, or how valuable my strengths were to the team.
Like many people, I just thought and assumed others just understood me. That I was clear about what I needed to be successful and I could just be myself in any work environment. I learned, however, that was no the case and I would need to learn more about what my strengths were and how to make them work the best for me. I would need to own my own strengths.
For anyone who is taking a personal inventory for the first or the hundredth time, it is important to choose a version that gives you rich and complex data. Sure, its fun to do a free version of these tests, but they don’t go in-depth in ways that can help us develop personally and professionally. If you can afford, purchase a version that will give you information about yourself in ways that will make a difference.
Using the Results for Personal Development
Within the DISC taxonomy, I am an Influencer. My strengths are being Influential, Confident, Inspiring. Some of my weaknesses include over-selling, acting impulsively, and being concerned with popularity. Under stress, I can be confrontational and sarcastic. Also, my time management style looks chaotic as I underestimate how long it takes to do pretty much anything.
When I work with others, I want freedom from details. I relish in personal interactions. And above all, I want recognition.
All of this data mattered to me. Because once I learned how I worked in a group, how others viewed my work, and how I acted when things didn’t go smoothly or to plan, I now had a built-in professional development plan.
Tapping Into that Personal Power
The Gallup Organization, owners of the StrengthsFinder tools, have conducted many surveys on the importance and impact of tapping into strengths in the workplace. Gallup found that “people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.”
They also found that “the more hours each day that Americans can use their strengths to do what they do best, the less likely they are to report experiencing worry, stress, anger, sadness, or physical pain during the previous day.” The study also showed that employees “experience more energy when they get to use their strengths often during the day.” Seriously folks, using our natural strengths is like tapping into an energy source!
In uncertain times, it is important that we identify our strengths. By using our strengths, we can focus on efforts on ways that improve our wellbeing. If we are working independently, now and into an unknown future, we need to use all the tools we have to fight off worry, stress, sadness or physical pain – all natural responses to working in uncertainty, like a global pandemic crisis.
In this way, our strengths become our personal power – and it is our responsibility to learn how to develop them.
Using Your Strengths, Right Here, Right Now
One way to tap into your personal power is to look at your strengths, right here, right now. Regardless of the inventory chosen, or if you used self-reflection questions to determine your strengths, moving forward you will need to know at least one identifiable strength. Using the Management Plan Method, begin by asking yourself three questions:
- Is there a positive part of my strengths I want to learn how to harness?
- What is a positive part of my strengths I want to refine to have a better impact?
- What is a positive part of my strengths I want to teach others about?
Why You Just Need to Focus on Right Here, Right Now
Right here, right now, you don’t need to make a plan that will take weeks or months to put into action. Start with one question and think of what you want to do and how you will measure its success.
For me, when I start any new project I always think of what I can do with my strengths first. As an Influencer style, for instance, I want to motivate others, and act confidently. So my blog articles always utilize this style. I have learned how to harness this strength through my writing, rather than in-person, which keeps me interested and engaged.
And while I love environments where I am surrounded by people, I have had to learn how to tap into different ways to measure that contact. But I know this contact is important for my style, and I thrive off this contact. Even in the midst of a global pandemic!
We can all harness our strengths during the day in the work we are doing. Use a personal inventory to help identify strengths that you can use to tap into a hidden energy source. And this one action may help you work on your personal and professional goals when it feels like you have no energy left to give.
Career Coaching for the Mid-Level Career Professional
I have worked with entry-level and mid-level career professionals for nearly ten years, helping them reconsider their strengths and ways to learn new skills. Let me know if there is anything I can do to support you as you develop this new skill.
Schedule an introductory meeting so we can discuss a plan that works best for you.