In a previous blogpost I recommended constructing a personal SWOT matrix – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats – as a step toward living with urgent intentionality. Urgent vs. Business as Usual. Intentional vs. Meandering. Whether in business or life, living with – and creating – genuine urgency is the need of the hour (Kotter’s books A Sense of Urgency, and Our Iceberg is Melting are “must reads.”)
Identifying your personal strengths
You’ve read the articles urging you to make the most of your unfair advantage. In business, an unfair advantage is that one thing the company does that is a stand-out feature. Jason Cohen writes, “A real unfair advantage is one that cannot easily be copied or bought. In life, your unfair advantage is you. Your personality, your motivations, your values. Your unfair advantage is what you’re able to leverage in order to achieve the goals you were created for.
You can’t leverage what you don’t understand.
Personally, and as a coach, and counselor, I believe the starting point for identifying our personal strengths is taking a valid and reliable personality assessment. An assessment designed (and tested) by professionals. Administered by someone with training to interpret the results and explain what the assessment does and does not say about you.
A valid and reliable personality assessment will help you understand your strengths. Everyone has a favorite assessment that fulfils the valid and reliable criteria. Mine are NEO-PI-3 and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Two additional assessments are useful in identifying your personal strengths. Strengthsfinder can help the unique talents you bring to your relationships and career. Values in Action will help you understand the character strengths that can help you develop better relationships at home, at work, in your church, and community.
Using assessments like these to identify your personal strengths is essential. Knowing your unique strengths enables you to say “Yes” to the more important tasks and opportunities, and to say “No” to things of lesser importance. And to say “Yes” or “No” with greater confidence.
Getting clear about your personal strengths has the added benefit of enabling you to understand the strengths that others bring. Understanding and valuing others’ uniqueness and gifts that their personal strengths contribute can enable you to create and sustain healthier families, workplaces, and communities.
Action Step: After taking one (or more) of these assessments, start compiling a list of your personal unfair advantages. Check your impressions with others who know you well, and who you trust to give you honest feedback
Bonus Step: Look around to identify people or places where you can use your unfair advantage for their benefit. Always remember that it’s more blessed to give than to receive.
I’m eager to hear your thoughts. Call or email.
Until then, press on, men. Press on.