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The Power of Strengths

Instead of fixating on what we lack, we should be recognising, celebrating, and using our unique talents and abilities.

Be Aware Of Weaknesses

When it comes to thinking about your strengths, skills and talents I really believe that itʼs easy to miss the point. Instead of focusing on strengths, we often find ourselves trying to shore up or ‘fixʼ weaknesses that have been singled out and placed under a spotlight. Under this glare we are forever staring at negatives. How do you feel when you do this? I did it, and now and then, still get caught in that old web of self-doubt, focused completely on the wrong things.

Today we live in a world where career boundaries are no longer confined to a single industry, one skill set or even one profession. Career pathways are increasingly fluid. We are part of an exciting era of flexibility and potential; where personal and professional growth are far more aligned than ever before. As a result of those ever-changing parameters, it is crucial that we learn to shift our focus from weaknesses to strengths.

But, Look To Strengths

Instead of fixating on what we lack, we should be recognising, celebrating, and using our unique talents and abilities to the full.

Once you’ve made the decision to change career, you’ll be focusing on your many areas, but none as much as your strengths and abilities. As you recognise and acknowledge these, they’ll serve as a powerful guide, allowing you to make informed decisions on your journey to a fulfilling career transition.

Understanding Talents, Skills, and Abilities

What’s the difference between talents, skills, and abilities? We can say that talents are considered the innate strengths or qualities we have such as creativity or leadership. Skills, on the other hand are the capabilities we develop through learning and experience, such as managing projects, analysing data and so on. Abilities then, are our physical and mental capacities, that enable us to perform various tasks, like problem-solving or complex planning.

Recognising the core strengths of your skills and talents builds on your own levels of self-awareness and this becomes both liberating and empowering. It is all about acknowledging your natural abilities and learning how to use them effectively. As you shift your focus more toward what youʼre innately good at, you can then begin the process of aligning those strengths with potential career choices.

Recognising the skills and talents you possess will always help fuel your confidence. When youʼre aware of what you excel at, self-esteem improves, and you begin to reach out for opportunities that you may have been dithering about. You’ll stop spending excessive energy doubting your capabilities, rather, you’ll concentrate energy on what you can achieve.

Uncovering Your Skills and Talents

So, how do you go about uncovering these strengths? Well, to begin with grab your notebook and pen and begin building those all-important lists! It requires some introspection which will help you to develop your ability to self-reflect. This in turn also means youʼre taking responsibility for your own self-care and is a great trigger for mindfulness.

Start with broad categories and then delve into the specifics. For example, if you consider yourself a good communicator, try to get more specific. Are you particularly good at public speaking, interpersonal conversations, or written communication? Get into the detail. If possible, make a brief note of the situations in which you used those skills well – as these can be converted for use in cover letters or interviews further down the line.

Another area is to meet with colleagues or friends and ask for feedback on the type of skills and talents that they think you use well. This can offer insights that you hadnʼt thought of before.

Is there anything on your list that surprises you? Are there skills that you love using or that youʼd like to let go of? Think carefully and recognise how you feel about these areas.

Make Use of Strengths Assessments: Clifton-Strengths

While there are various self-reflection tests available, the Clifton-Strengths from Gallup, previously known as StrengthsFinder 2.0, identifies the ways you most naturally think, feel, and behave, and how you can use these innate abilities. This test is worth the small investment. It will help you understand your talents, and also provides actionable strategies to leverage them effectively. (Please note, I do not receive any affiliate payments from Gallup or any test in this article – I just think theyʼre useful tools!)

The assessment is based on a comprehensive study of human talents and their relation to success and performance. It focuses on 4 ‘domainsʼ under which you’ll find groupings of strengths. Once you complete the test, you’ll get an in-depth analysis of your top five “themes” or areas in which you have the potential to excel.

The Holland Code: RIASEC

Another useful tool is the Holland Code, also known as the RIASEC model. Developed by psychologist John L. Holland, this employs a model that categorises people into six ‘personality typesʼ based on their interests and preferences. These types are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

The Holland Code can be a useful framework when exploring potential career options that align with your strengths and interests. Once you have your type, you can identify careers that are a good match for your personality and particular work preferences. For example, if you have strong artistic tendencies, today you might thrive in a creative field such as graphic design or photography. If you enjoy helping others and have strong social skills, a career in one of the therapeutic professions or an area of social work could be a good fit.

To determine your Holland Code, you will need to do the self- assessment test that will give you information about the types of work tasks, and roles that are most likely to draw on your strengths. Incorporating the Holland Code job match can deepen your self-awareness and it really is a great tool to help make career decisions.


So, focusing on your strengths, rather than weaknesses helps you leverage what you are naturally good at. Itʼs way more productive than spending your energy trying to fix what you’re not so good at. This doesnʼt necessarily mean letting those old weaknesses off the hook, but youʼre now in a much better position to manage them.

Remember, your greatest potential will always lie in your strengths. By identifying your top talents, you can start to focus more on what you do best, which often leads naturally, to greater productivity, and satisfaction.

It’s also important to remember that strengths are not just things you are good at, but they are also things that motivate and energise you. They are the tasks, relationships, and activities that you are naturally drawn to, that you do well, and that you enjoy.

Overall, your strengths are the unique combination of the talents, knowledge, and skills youʼve gained over the years. Doing an assessment such as The CliftonStrengths, or the Holland Code, can help you discover and unlock your potential.

By focusing on your strengths and not your weaknesses, you open a world of possibilities for dynamic and empowering development. So, take the first step in identifying your strengths and see where this exciting journey takes you.

Links for you

Holland Code & Career Key


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