Ramadan is the month that should remind us of counting our blessings and of being grateful for everything that we have. In our individual capacity, we all are blessed with certain strengths. This includes those who are differently abled (or disabled). But God has given us some strengths. All we need is to identify our strengths, nurture them and direct them for our own good and those around us.
Finding our own path in life and walking it through is a real challenge that we all have to face as we come of age and begin to look at how we might make our mark on the world. If only it were so easy that everyone was guaranteed success in their pursuits instead of the starker reality that most of us contend with in our daily lives.
Sometimes, we may not be very sure exactly what our personal strengths are, so how are we going to go about owning them? Let’s understand this properly, make it a systemic process and take a look at the following pointers:
1. First Know Yourself
Hazrat Ali (A.S.) once said: “Whoever knows himself, knows His Lord”. This saying has an esoteric meaning to it but for now, let’s begin with this very important life exercise and start assessing our own selves in order to make a few key determinations about our personalities and general outlook on life.
Who could be better than you in identifying our own core strengths and weaknesses? Taking the time to better understand those strengths and weaknesses will help to provide some context or foundational background for us to then project forward to try and imagine what our future may hold.
If we haven’t previously taken the time to really evaluate where you stand as a person and analyze your own skillsets, strengths, weaknesses, and long-term objectives in life, then you are definitely holding yourself back from where you could be as an individual. Knowing yourself and taking the time to learn even more about yourself is vital in working towards maximising your strengths.
2. Identify clues in your success and Failures
While failure can be a great teacher at times, success also begets more success. Any experience, whether positive or negative, can be a teaching tool for the individual if that individual is willing to utilize it. The key, of course, is to get into the thick of things and start finding ways to gain that necessary experience.
So often at corporate companies I hear the phrase, “You’ve got to put in your time,” referencing the idea that you have to put a certain amount of years into a company before you start to see that result in a positive correlation within your career.
As we experience life in a one-way direction, we ought to learn some things through the process of trying and failing. Failure is indeed a foundational piece of building long term success in any pursuit. Through our failures we become more equipped to recognize future hazards and engrain those lessons into the fiber of our being so that we ultimately see gains from what were once losses. In the middle of a failure, it is almost impossible to see these lessons. It isn’t until after the storm has passed that you begin to put the puzzle pieces together and find the lesson to be learned in that situation.
3. Retain Your Identity
People tend to change while they are successful. This can also happen during difficult times. The real challenge is to retain one’s identity at all times. Whether we are trying to become good leader or an employee, it’s important that we, as individuals, have an extremely strong grip on our own identity. Knowing yourself will be paramount in your aim to leverage those strengths in order to experience future success.
Own Your Strengths
The idea of owning our strengths in order to capitalize on our skillset and propel ourselves towards success is one that we should all consider and aim to pursue.
Think about leverage by envisioning a see-saw. Typically, on a see-saw, one person puts all of their weight on one end of the see-saw, which then propels the other person up into the air. In the same way, if you utilised your personal strengths as the foundation for your growth, you would see a positive correlation as your success increased.
1. Invest in Yourself
Another element to consider is to think about how investing in yourself is actually very different than how we invest in the stock markets. When you invest in the stock market, most experts will tell you that you should diversify your asset classes or invest in index funds so that you aren’t concentrated in a singular position that could potentially weigh down your portfolio.
This is the exact opposite approach that one should take when looking to owning and leveraging our strengths. When it comes to capitalizing on one’s strengths, you should be looking to invest more of your time, energy, and money into a more singularly focused move that builds up your greatest strengths or skillset.
2. Identify & Improve Your Weaknesses
In order to own and leverage your strengths, we should focus on what areas of weakness exist in our current body of work and then work to shore those areas of weakness up in order to create a broader foundation for success.
In decreasing your areas of weakness and growing their strength, you will be doing what you are aiming to do in looking to leverage your strengths. Reducing weakness allows for you as an individual to perform at a higher level and naturally lends more power to the strengths that you have in your repertoire.
3. Strengthen those strengths
Shifting the paradigm from fixing weaknesses to building strengths takes no small amount of energy and attention. Yet, when organizations provide opportunities for employees to bring their best selves to work, everyone wins. Being intentional in supporting and promoting that shift can lead to higher employee engagement, productivity, and retention — all of which, ultimately, creates a stronger team and organisation.
According to Peter Drucker, “It takes far less energy to move from first-rate performance to excellence than it does to move from incompetence to mediocrity.”
When you think about becoming a stronger leader, employee, or even an organization, do you focus on your weak spots or do you start with where you’re already strong? There are different schools of thought. For years, the traditional paradigm had us focus on directing development activities to fix what we weren’t very good at. After all, if something is already considered one of your strengths at work, why focus energy there? Shouldn’t we focus on a weakness instead?
Whatever method you take in order to identify your strengths, remember that no success happens overnight. You as the individual have to work hard to identify your strengths and then work out a way in which to leverage them to your overall benefit and growth. It will take time and research, but if you are reading this article, you are already on your way!
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Muhammad Sajwani is the Founder, Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Evolve HR which aims at transforming, enriching and evolving Human Capital of Pakistan. At Evolve HR, him and his team thrives in challenging assumptions that hinder organisational aspirations, by creating innovative solutions that yield maximum impact, scalability & benefit to a wider base of stakeholders. As a Business Coach and Organisational Consultant, Sajwani knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.