Are you playing to your strengths?

The Secret to Success : do more of what you’re good at

If you’re thinking about what you want to do with your life – here’s a suggestion that might just help you to discover the direction that you’re searching for…… PLAY to your strengths!

In other words, find a way to do more of what you’re naturally good at.Play to your strengths

Now some of you reading this might be quite clear about your strengths. However, there will be many others who are unsure. And this uncertainty could stem from different reasons, perhaps for example ….

  1. In the past, you’ve only ever received criticism – and never really been given compliments nor been provided with positive feedback. Thus, you haven’t had any help to assist you in recognising what you’re good at. And of course the effect of persistent and harsh criticism can result in a bruised self-esteem, where you can experience regular inner demons of self-doubt. A nice illustration of this was in the Harry Potter story, when Professor Moody advised Harry to play to his strengths in order to fight a dragon in an inter-school challenge  ….. And Harry’s initial response was to say “I haven’t got any”. If you were  told that you were stupid or useless when you were growing up, then this negativity will probably have left an imprint on the way you see yourself. ……… But don’t worry if this is something that has happened to you, because there are ways you can boost your self-esteem
  2. You haven’t stretched yourself enough. You’ve stayed with the familiar, stayed within your comfort zone and never really pushed yourself to the limits. Consequently you may never discover that you could be quite extraordinary at something.

There is the inspiring story of Marcus Buckingham (told by Marilyn Hood in Success magazine) who as a young boy at school suffered from some serious problems with stammering and stuttering. One day he was asked to stand up and speak at a school assembly – which could have proven to have been a horrendous experience for him, with the potential for him becoming the butt of cruel school-ground humour for a long time.

And yet what Marcus discovered on that particular day turned out to become a watershed moment in his life. Because despite the intense anxiety that he felt as he walked up to the microphone, once he opened his mouth and started speaking , he found that his stutter and stammer disappeared and instead he found an ease and fluency in his communication that he had never experienced before! He was a natural at public speaking!

For Marcus, being the centre of attention and the focus of many sets of eyes brought out the best in him. And this insight became something that he was determined to use as the basis for planning his future – ultimately building a hugely successful career as a speaker and author.

PUSH yourself to experience more

For me, one of the lessons of Marcus’s story is the value of gaining a wider variety of experiences. So try opening yourself up to new challenges. Take a bit of a risk. Shake off any fear of failure. Because you may just discover an inherent capability that had been lying dormant  and sleeping within you.

And the thing about your strengths is this ….. they tend to come easy and natural for you. They are something that don’t seem to take a lot of work – although that’s not to say that they can’t be further improved!

Once you recognise and embrace your natural talents – then the next step is to explore what  opportunities are out there for you to apply and leverage them. Playing to your strengths is the key to your achievement and success in business, life and even relationships. Find a way to do more of what you’re good at – as long as this continues to bring contentment and fulfilment.

Let me begin to close with some words from Donald Clifton, “And if you find yourself actually anticipating with pleasure a particular activity, and thinking to yourself-‘When can I do this again?’- it is usually a pretty good sign that you are enjoying it and that one of your talents is in play.”

Focus on how best to harness your talents

So stop worrying quite so much about your weaknesses and your limitations – and instead start to affirm and focus upon fully harnessing your natural taletalent giftnts.
Unleash the genie in the bottle – and not only will you begin to positively transform your own life,  but chances are that you will also make your corner of the world a better place as well.
Whatever God you honor, or whatever Higher Purpose you seek to follow,  will be well served when you play to your innate strengths.
Related articles that might interest you – Mental Toughness  and Self-motivation tips

About the author

Brian Carroll is the founder of Performance Development, a corporate training business in Melbourne, Australia.  He is a qualified psychologist with a passion for helping people reach their full potential. You can find out more about Brian at his Google + profile
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About PerformanceDevelopment

I am a qualified psychologist, and established my corporate training business, Performance Development, more than twenty years ago in Melbourne, Australia. We focus upon Leadership Skills development and helping people to develop the capabilities and confidence they need to get the best out of themselves.
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