When you are working towards an important goal, it is important to leverage your greatest strengths. So often we focus on our weaknesses and things that are blocking us. Shift your mindset to success and focus on your strengths and you will be amazed at what you can overcome and accomplish.
A few years ago, I coached an executive who asked me to help him with developing anger management. When someone crossed him, he would lose his cool and berate them at work. He would point his finger in their face and loudly curse them out with very foul language. His temper had been an issue during his entire career and now things had gotten out of hand. He was about to retire and I suspected he was motivated to change because he would soon be spending a lot more time with his family. Improving this aspect of his personality would probably help him at home too.
I told him the fastest way to reach his goal was to leverage his strengths. I challenged him to think about the strengths he possessed that would drive the results he was trying to achieve. He listed his strengths:
- Positive relationship with his staff
- Great communication skills
- Compassionate leader
- Drive toward continuous improvement
- A propensity for change
To build on his relationship with his staff and his leadership skills, he announced his desire to work on his anger at a staff meeting and asked his team for their patience and support. He admitted he was trying to be a better leader and asked for suggestions on what he could do. They were excited and agreed to help him.
I sat in on several of his staff meetings and observed his behavior when he interacted with his others. During our weekly coaching sessions, we talked about what went right and what he could have done better. After about two months he began to identify constructive ways to handled conflict that aligned better with his personal strengths. His team was excited as they started to see him change right before their eyes. He became a role model to his staff on the importance of continuous growth and development at any age.
It is important to understand your strengths in relation to your goal. For instance, if you have a goal to start exercising, you might want to consider strengths such as your level of commitment to a healthy lifestyle, the fact that you ran track in college, or that you thrive in the face of a challenge.
The objective is to create awareness of your strengths to reinforce the belief that you can reach your goal and you do have what it takes to succeed. Ultimately, you will want to use your strengths to help you overcome the roadblocks to achieving your goal. How can you do that if you don’t know what they are?
One way to identify your strength is to look at your past successes and think about what strengths you used so you can use them again. An exercise I like to give to my clients is to complete a SWOT analysis. The SWOT is a self assessment process that analyzes your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The important thing to remember, just like the executive in the story above, is that it’s much easier to play to your strengths. Once you begin to really acknowledge your strengths and appreciate them, you can use your strengths to compensate for your weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities and combat threats that could derail your success.
What are your greatest strengths and how can you start to use them more often to succeed?