Strengths start with a talent, something you naturally do well. That’s not to say you do always it perfectly or that you start off performing it brilliantly. When others notice that you do something well, that is a place to start. Oddly enough, we often disregard the comments of others in our areas of strength. When you begin to recognize something as a talent of yours, though, you will often recall several times that others praised you for that ability.
As Dan Pink spoke about in his book Drive (you can see his TED message here), intrinsic motivation is the most important. When you have the internal drive to do something, you want to do more of it and you are resilient in the face of challenge. Both are good qualities when you are working to develop a strength.
Experience is the third ingredient. It’s easy to attain that experience when you do something well and you have a strong drive to do more of it. Experience, therefore, is almost a default ingredient of a strength.
The sum is greater than its parts
It’s vital to recognize that all three ingredients are necessary parts of a strength. If you have talent, but it doesn’t thrill you do it and you hardly ever practice it – that is not a strength. If you have a drive to do something, but little natural talent and hardly any experience – that is not a strength. If you have experience in an activity, but no talent and no motivation to practice it – that is not a strength.
Your strengths can help you build a powerful life of meaning and purpose. Look for feedback about your talents, develop those that excite you, and prove yourself by doing it over and over. You will shine.
Do you have any talents that aren’t backed up by drive and experience? Experience that isn’t backed up by talent or drive? Drive to do something in an area where you are not talented or experienced in?
Share your experiences in the comments!