Last Updated: Oct 2, 2011
Knowing your personal strengths and talents can help you decide where to focus your efforts and when to hire outside help. There are lots of online assessments you can take to figure this out, but one of the best ways to discover your strengths is to ask those who know you best.
There’s no end to the number of quizzes and self-assessments you can take to find out your unique talents. You can also get input from others using a tool like 360-degree feedback. I’ve done a lot of these assessments over the years, and I always learn something important about myself.
You need to know this so you spend more of your time developing these assets and using them to grow your business. You’ll also discover the areas you don’t enjoy or struggle with, so you can hire people with those skills or outsource them.
Recently I discovered a quick and easy strategy for uncovering your top strength. You simply pose a single question to people who know you. I decided to try this approach, and it turned out to be extremely powerful and revealing.
Here are the steps I followed so you can do this, too.
#1 – Identify the people you want to ask.
Ask people who know you well. They’re aware of your strengths because they’ve observed you in action many times. My list included people in my company, business colleagues, personal friends and family members. I decided to use email so they’d have a chance to think about their answer before responding. But you could also ask them in person or over the phone.
#2 – Draft your message.
Ask just one question and explain why you want their input. Here’s what I sent:
I’d value your insight about something important I want to learn about myself. What do you see as my most outstanding talent/gift?
I want to get greater clarity about what that is, so I can develop it into an even more powerful strength. That way I can use it to make the best possible contribution to the world.
Thank you for taking a few minutes to share your thoughts with me.
#3 – Study the feedback.
Cut and paste all the responses into a Word file so you can easily review everyone’s input. There will naturally be some differences because it’s likely that your family members experience you in a different way than your business colleagues. These varied perspectives will give you lots of great information to think about. You’ll probably also discover some things about yourself that you take for granted and didn’t realize were valued so highly by others.
What you want to do is look for common threads. What’s the underlying theme that comes through? Here’s why you want to know that.
When you understand what your unique talent is, you’ll have a greater appreciation for what you have to offer the world. And because this is already strength, you’ll find it fun and enjoyable to develop it into an area of real excellence. And when you do that, you expand the positive impact you can have during your lifetime.
An entrepreneur since 1982, Meredith Bell is a skilled coach and expert on behavior change. Her software company publishes assessment and development tools for the people side of your business. For more information and the free guide for entrepreneurs, “Ignite Your Business,” visit: http://www.ProStarCoach.com/smallbiz