what are your strengths?
Picture this: you're being interviewed for a job that lights you up inside. A job you'd look forward to rolling out of bed for. A job you know you're meant to do. Your palms are a little sweaty as you face the interviewer(s), there's a smile on your face doing your best to project confidence. You've talked about who you are (my least favourite question), your past experiences and what's brought you to this moment right here. You're then asked what your strengths are (my second least favourite question). In your head, you go through all of your areas of expertise, the skills you've developed the most, and explain these in a way which don't make you sound cocky and apply to the role you're hoping to get. Very technical sounding. Relief floods through you as the interviewer seems pleased with your answer. You were equal parts humble and intelligent.
I hate that.
Right now, I want you to forget everything you think you know about strengths. I want you to forget the things others tell you you're good at. I want you to forget the skills that apply to your job. I want you to let go of the notion that a strength is defined as something you're good at.
Because in reality, a strength is something that makes you feel strong.
Are you thinking 'well, duh?'. Ask yourself this: what are some of the things others tell you that you have a strength in. Are all of them things that truly make you feel joy? Things that light you up?
Here's the deal when it comes to strengths.
- you are the most qualified person to determine what you are strong at.
- playing to your strengths (as in the things that make you feel strong) increases productivity.
- investing your time in your areas of strength more than weakness provides the most growth.
I'm not saying ignore weaknesses, and I'll look at weaknesses more another day. I'm saying manage around your weaknesses but spend time developing your strengths in order to provide a more effective and satisfied lifestyle. Because your strengths should be things that energize you, that make you feel valuable and fulfilled. Strengths sustain you.
Now go back to that interview. When answering that strengths question, imagine sharing things you truly feel strong in. The specific activities you feel focused, engaged and energized in -- activities you feel an instinct and need to do. Just imagine what sharing these strengths will do to your body language, your expression and the energy in your tone. Your natural excitement will shine through. It will be a true moment of authenticity. That is what will make you stand out in an interview, and honestly, it's what I'd rather see from a person I was interviewing
Not clear on what your strengths may be or how to clearly articulate them? Sign up for a one-on-one coaching session to dig into and focus on what makes you feel strong by filling out the form below. And stay tuned for tomorrow's post to get insight into what makes me feel strong.