Determining and Using Your Strengths and Talents

Each individual has unique strengths and talents. What are your strengths and talents? How do you use these in your everyday life? 

Difference Between Strength and Talent

Strength and talent do not mean the same thing. Talents are like unpolished diamonds, rough around the edges but with great potential. Talents are your inborn, unique ability to do something. 

Your talent becomes your strength when you spend time honing and polishing it. You develop qualities that are noticed by others as special qualities you polished while polishing your talent or special capabilities. 

For example, you love to paint and are good at it; that’s talent. While painting, you also develop patience, attention to detail, and creativity. These become strengths that you can apply to other aspects of your life and work situations. 

Identify Your Talents and Develop Your Strengths

Here are some tips.

1. Know what you love and find your passion. What type of tasks do you enjoy? What activities absorb your full attention? Do you lose track of time when you’re doing it? 

For example, if you love to write but that’s not what you do at work, explore writing opportunities on your own. Create a blog, write a journal or a book, or start your department newsletter. If you can talk persuasively, explore the possibilities to join the sales team at work. If you are good at designing, find a way to join the creative section or IT department at work.

2. Ask people for feedback. Do people compliment you for your skills? Are people commenting on strengths you have but did not realize were special? Have you ever had people praising you for your reliability and dedication to work? People may have seen your creativity, listening skills, or attention to detail.

One of the ways to develop an accurate perception of yourself is to listen to what others have to say about you. Ask a friend or a coworker to tell you what they think are your greatest strengths. Listen to their feedback about your work performance.

3. Focus on when you are most productive.  Take note of how long it took you to finish specific tasks and how effective you were. The time you accomplished a lot in a short time was most likely when you were using your biggest strengths. Make a list of what motivated you to work. Take notice of those tasks you were working on when time seemed to drag as these are most likely your weaknesses. Think of what made you feel less motivated and avoid those situations. 

4. Take personality tests. A personality test can help point out where you are already successful. It can also identify your natural ability for skills and activities that you are not yet involved in.

5. Expand your horizon. Try new skills, hobbies, and activities to identify your strengths. You may be surprised at what you discover by taking the risk of trying something new in the workplace.

How to Use Your Strengths and Talents 

Here are some tips:

  • Accept that you don’t have to be perfect in everything. Remind yourself that you have strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Focus on your strengths, not on your weaknesses. This could be challenging because we tend to work on issues holding us back. You will be more successful if you play up to your strengths. 
  • Create an action plan and start putting your strengths to work. Take classes to get a higher degree or learn new skills. Consider a change in career. Make a difference.
  • Choose one of your strengths and talents you’re most proud of or would like to work on and use that strength in a new way during the week. At the end of the week, check the outcome and determine if there were changes in your performance.
  • Turn your strengths into habits. Make it happen. 

Final Thoughts

Life is not a straight, smooth line. Often, it is like a crazy maze that sends you around in circles. Turning your talents into strengths will help you to deal with the ups and downs of life. 

As a professional executive and life coach, my work involves helping people identify their talents and guiding them to turn those talents into strengths. If you’d like to learn more about the services I provide, check them out here.