The key to peak performance in high-pressure situations is to leverage your strengths. The problem is, as my content collaborator Dr. Jeannine Jannot says, “most people struggle with naming their strengths.” Why? Because we tend to be overly sensitive and self-conscious about our weaknesses. We actually focus on our weaknesses more than our strengths.
Here’s the thing, there is a strong relationship between utilizing our strengths and achieving success. More importantly, leveraging our strengths on a regular basis has been shown to improve our overall well-being. So, if you want to be happier, find a way to use your strengths more often.
On the flip side, have you felt the drudgery of trying to improve your weaknesses? Perhaps your boss honed in on one of your deficiencies in a performance evaluation and asked you to work on a particular weakness. If that request felt like a prison sentence… congratulations! You are perfectly normal. This is because we tend to feel unhappy when tapping into our weaknesses.
You cannot and will not do everything well. No one is perfect. The attempt to improve your weaknesses is a distraction from improving what makes you special—your strengths. Strength = talent.
Our goal is to shift our focus from our weaknesses to our strengths.
At the very least, you should be able to list your top five strengths. In this free webinar, Dr. Jannot and I provide tools and tips to begin leveraging your strengths every day. If you are like most people and cannot list your top five strengths, we highly recommend you take a personality assessment.
I try not to plug products or services on my blog, but I will make recommendations when I believe in something (this is not a paid endorsement). I recently took the Birkman assessment and found it to be fascinating, helpful and amazingly accurate.
My consultant, Todd McCarty, walked me through the report, which was a very comprehensive evaluation. Birkman goes beyond the understanding of your strengths. It covers areas of interest, preferred work styles, career management and coaching tips for your personality.
What makes the Birkman different from other personality tests is that it helps you understand your underlying needs based on your personality. It also helps you recognize your typical behavior when your needs are being met (your best self) as well as your stress behavior when your needs are not being met (your not-so-best self). This insight helps you understand your triggers for stress so that you can avoid them or mitigate them.
My report provided specific information on each of the eleven personality components including personality strengths, needs and causes of stress. I learned about the work environments in which I thrive versus ones that crush my spirit.
Frankly, had I been armed with this information twenty years ago I would have made some different employment choices, which is the whole point of understanding your strengths, weaknesses and personality type. How can we put ourselves in a position for peak performance and avoid situations where we are positioned to fail (and feel miserable in the process)?
Another benefit of taking a personality evaluation is that it reminds us how different we all are. And, those differences are hardwired into us based on our personality. That makes perfect sense to me as a marketer because I’m constantly studying psychographics, behaviors, preferences and target markets. However, this little reminder comes in handy with all of our relationships: marriage, family and work teams. People are people and we all have different perspectives, communications styles and strengths.
The concept of playing to your strengths goes beyond career success. It’s really about cultivating a life that maximizes your happiness and well-being. And, interacting with others in a more constructive way increases everyone’s well-being. When it comes to feeling happier and improving your performance, there’s no time like the present.
Today is the day to be your best self!
Note: If you would like to take the Birkman assessment, contact Todd McCarty at career firstname.lastname@example.org.