What are strengths and weaknesses? How do you identify your strengths and weaknesses? And how do you start turning your weaknesses into strengths? Find out here.
Strengths and weaknesses defined
Strengths are defined as character traits or skills that are considered positive. Strengths include knowledge, attributes, skills, and talents.
Weaknesses are just the opposite. Weaknesses are defined as character traits or skills that are considered negative or not as well developed. Weaknesses include blind spots, poorly developed skills, or problematic personal behaviors.
What does “strengths and weaknesses” mean?
Someone may ask you, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” This is a common when someone is trying to make a decision as to whether you’re the right fit for something. But the question means, they are looking for you to answer how your strengths and weakness would affect how well you do.
Answering this question is not always easy. That’s because knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses takes self-awareness and self-reflection. For example, if you’re applying for graduate school, you might want to focus on strengths related to study skills. But if you’re applying for a job in sales, you want to talk about your social skills.
What are strengths?
There are tons of strengths. But research has shown that there are 5 different types of strengths:
- Interpersonal strengths ( Teamwork/Kindness/Forgiveness/Leadership/Fairness)
- Intellectual strengths ( Love of Learning/Creativity/Curiosity/Open-Mind)
- Emotional strengths ( Hope/Bravery)
- Strengths of restraint ( Honesty/Self-Regulation)
- Theological strengths ( Gratitude/Appreciation of Beauty)
If you have strengths in one area, you may be more likely to have the other strengths in that area. But this is not always the case as each person is unique.
What are weaknesses?
Having a weakness doesn’t mean that you have a complete lack of a particular strength. It just means you tend to have less of that strength. Or it means that one aspect of yourself isn’t as strong as your other strengths.
For example, kindness is one of my strengths, but I’m really bad at teamwork. I have more of the intellectual strengths but fewer of the theological strengths. So I would say my weaknesses is gratitude. We all have strengths and weaknesses and that’s okay. The goal is to understand our strengths so we can better use them and understand our weaknesses so we can improve them.
Why are Strengths important?
We probably already know that our strengths are what help us achieve our goals, be successful, and accomplish what we set out to accomplish. But strengths can also contribute to life satisfaction and well-being. For example, research has shown that strengths such as gratitude, hope, and love are most likely to contribute to life satisfaction. That’s why it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses and devise a plan to turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Why is it important to know your strengths and weaknesses?
1. It increases self-awareness
When you spend time reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses, you get to know your true self better. This helps you make decisions that better reflect your true self and make you happy.
2. It helps you understand others
It’s interesting how self-awareness can also help you become more aware of others and boost empathy. This can improve relationships and create mutual understanding.
3. It shows you what to focus on
When we know our strengths, we can make an effort to put them to better use and increase our chances for success.
4. It shows you what you need to improve
When we know our weaknesses (especially weaknesses that are hurting our well-being), we can better address them, improve, and increase our chances for success.
5. It can help you appreciate yourself more
When you have a list of all the things you are good at, you can more easily see and appreciate all your talents and skills and increase your self-confidence.
Find your Strengths
Find your weaknesses
Each area of strength has a corresponding weakness if it is not developed. Next, make a list of weaknesses (or underdeveloped strengths) that would be helpful to achieve your goals. For example, maybe you’re a bad cook. If that has nothing to do with your goals, then you don’t need to list it as a weakness here. By working on our weaknesses, even a little bit, we can start to turn them into strengths.
More examples of Strengths
Sometimes it can be hard to think of all the areas of strength we actually have. So here’s a giant list of strengths to help you identify yours:
How to use your areas of Strength
First, try to identify patterns or themes among your areas of strength. This can help you zoom in on what you’re really good at.
Second, create a self-portrait, vision board, or narrative that helps you think about your strengths in context. For example, how do these strengths relate to each other? How did they develop? What is it about you and your values that led these things to become strengths?
Third, think about how you would re-design your life to focus on what you’re good at. For example, as I was writing this article, I thought a bit about my strengths to innovate and learn new things. What about you? How might you change your life to focus more on your strengths?
Take actions that support your areas of strength
You may or may not be able to immediately change your life to focus more on your strengths. But you can take small actions to start using your strengths more. For example, maybe you’re a natural coach. You could start taking classes or working on getting your life coaching certification. Or if you’re kind and creative, maybe you want to start building a high-impact business while still keeping your day job. Or maybe you’re a brilliant cook and you want to start having more people over for dinner to enjoy your meals. Whatever it is, try to take some action that helps you capitalize on your strengths to manifest your dreams.
Reevaluate your areas of strength
Remember that as you go about life, you’ll build new areas of strength. Some of your weaknesses will turn into strengths. And you’ll need to focus on different weaknesses. So just take time periodically to reevaluate your strengths and weakness and see if you need to shift your focus.
Celebrate small successes!
Some talk about using your strengths like it is magic. It’s not. It takes time and self-insight to develop and use your areas of strength. That’s why it’s key to pause and celebrate small successes along the way.
Article Credit: https://www.berkeleywellbeing.com/strengths.html