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Let Your Strengths Be Your Guide

by Patricia Rawson

Most people struggle when asked the question, “What are your strengths?” This is a conventional question asked at interviews and often one that can make a difference whether an individual gets the job offer.
Strengths are what employers are seeking. Employers want to know what separates you from the other candidates, how you might strengthen their organization and ultimately their bottom line.
Knowing your strengths will definitely improve your chances of getting employment. But the real benefit in knowing your strengths is experiencing the success you are seeking at work. Strengths provide the foundation for finding that perfect career and organization, and keeping your work search energized.
Often when we think of strengths, we see them as something that we are good at. Marcus Buckingham, author of Go Put Your Strengths to Work, questions what we might call strengths.
What do you call, “Something you’ve been blessed with lots of ability to do well but cursed with no appetite for it. Something you’re brilliant at, but that leaves you cold….” He calls it a weakness. Buckingham’s definition of a weakness is “any activity that leaves you feeling weaker after you do it.” Any activity, he goes on to say, that drains you of energy.
Strengths are the opposite; they “are any activities that make you feel strong.” Strengths leave you energized, focused and fulfilled.
How do you discover your strengths? By paying attention to your feelings. By paying attention to how you feel before, during and after an activity. Do you feel energized? Do you feel alive? Do you feel engaged? Others can’t really tell you what your strengths are because they don’t know how you feel when you do an activity.
“You’ve been raised to believe that other people know you better than you know yourself…” Buckingham advises, “But always remember: you are the greatest teacher about you and your strengths.”

Patricia Rawson has worked as an employment counsellor in Nelson, BC, for the past 14 years. She has developed popular workshops and tools aimed to help people find their best work.     


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