You’ve heard about finding your strengths through personality type and by figuring out which work activities give you energy. Now let’s look at another way to find them by turning a negative into a positive.
Defining talent and strengths
Marcus Buckingham, author of Now, Discover Your Strengths (affiliate Amazon link that supports this site), says, “Talents are naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied”. To paraphrase Buckingham, a strength is defined as consistent application of a talent, resulting over time in near-perfect performance. Have you ever thought that you just haven’t yet found ways to productively apply your natural behaviors?
What do you do to annoy people?
I sometimes annoy people because I can’t seem to stop generating choices and options. I’ve written about how my ISTJ husband perceives this ENFP ability when it comes to restaurant choices, but this trait doesn’t just appear in my home life. At work, I often bounce in from the morning commute with an insight or idea to apply to yesterday’s problem. Sometimes that’s a help, sometimes a hindrance. But it’s 100% genuine me.
One of my coaching clients and long-time friends has incredible persistence. When I was the president of our Toastmasters club and he was Area Governor, he’d call me every month for a debrief on the club’s challenges and victories. If the club wasn’t doing well, I’d sometimes try to dodge the call. It didn’t work. He’d call and leave voice mail until he found me in or I called him back. He did this month after month until his year of service was up. That’s persistence.
Where or when could this annoying trait be seen as one of your strengths?
To start finding your strengths and turning them into superpowers, you need to identify a recurring pattern of behavior that you can’t stop doing if you tried, seek out situations where it can add value, and self-manage in situations where it can’t. In my case, I help my coaching clients think of options for handling a situation so they can be at choice in their career and relationships. My Toastmasters friend can use his persistence to overcome challenges when working through a project and stay on target all the way to the end.
What can you not stop doing? Where can it be useful? Seek out those situations, use your strengths, and earn your super hero cape.