“Don’t push your weaknesses, play with your strengths”
– Jennifer Lopez
A great starting point when thinking about a squiggly career, is to understand your super strengths. These are the things you’re brilliant at; whether you’re the best driver, a remarkable mixologist behind a bar, or incredible at customer service. Your super strengths are the unique combination of talents and qualities that make you great at what you do.
Your super strengths are the reason people hire you.
Why super strengths matter
Discovering and using your super strengths helps you in three ways:
- Keeping engaged and motivated. When you’re in a job that plays into your super strengths, you’re much more likely to be engaged and motivated. Knowing them can help you find a career that’s a good fit for you. In short, seek out opportunities where you’ll get to use your super strengths, and avoid those where you won’t.
- Finding success at work. When you’re able to use your super strengths, you can accomplish more in less time, and with less effort. American performance management consultancy Gallup found that workers who used their super strengths were six times more effective and engaged in their role.
- Feeling fulfilled. When you know your primary skills and talents, you can focus on building them. You can invest your time and energy in things that are more likely to bring you success, and avoid wasted efforts on things that are less likely to add value for you. Developing your super strengths helps you to feel more satisfied, accomplished, and fulfilled in your career.
Strengths or Super Strengths?
We make the distinction between strengths and super strengths for this important reason; you can be really good at something that you really dislike.
For example, an office worker could be good with spreadsheets, yet at the same time find that it destroys their soul – that nothing saps their energy more than having to spend a lot of time on one. When working with spreadsheets they could be doing all the right things, and building their skill level, but ultimately finish feeling demotivated and disengaged. This then impacts the rest of their day in negative ways.
Your super strengths are the things you’re brilliant at, that also bring you joy. When you’re applying a super strength you should feel engaged, passionate and motivated to use them more.
Nature VS Nurture
Sometimes we look at people who are more successful than us and we worry we’ll never measure up. We can look at somebody else and think they were born with certain gifts, so why bother trying to succeed? And elements of that might be true. Some people are indeed born with innate abilities to do things much more easily than the rest of us.
However, your super strengths are a combination of the things that you’re naturally good at, combined with skills and behaviours you develop through your learnt experiences. You can develop your super strengths.
Natural Talents + Learnt Experiences = Super Strengths
The 80% Rule
We all have weaknesses; nobody’s perfect. The more successful among us tend to follow a simple rule:
Spend 80% of your time making your super strengths stronger and 20% mitigating weaknesses that hold you back.
Peter Drucker, the famous management theorist, said; “You can’t build performance on weaknesses. You can only build on your strengths”. When embarking on improving ourselves or designing a career, many of us start with a list of things we don’t like about ourselves or things we’re not as good at as we wish we were. Trying to be good at everything is impossible. You’ll get more out of the time you invest if you focus on making your super strengths stronger, rather than wasting time worrying about your weaknesses.
Identifying and Developing Your Super Strengths
How much time do you spend thinking about what your super strengths are? If you know what your super strengths are, do you know how to make them stronger? After reading this piece, most of us will have some inkling as to what our super strengths might be, but may struggle to know how to develop them, or how to use them to boost our careers.
By exploring the materials below, and completing the short guided exercises coming next week, this module will help you to discover what your super strengths are, how to use them more frequently, and how to share them with others to supercharge your career.
Watch: How Our Weaknesses Can Become Our Strengths (10 mins)
Listen: Understanding Your Strengths with Marcus Buckingham (18 mins)
Brand new further learning💥
Grow with Indeed Flex Series
Values – explore what you really care about in a career and how it motivates and drives you to happiness at work.
Confidence – find out what lowers your confidence at work and how to overcome this.
Futureproofing – identify future career possibilities and develop the three keys skills to futureproof your career, whatever you do.