Over the last 16 years, I have become amazed that so many people have no awareness of their strengths. Knowing and understanding them makes it possible for them to leverage them so that they may astonish themselves with what they could accomplish.
As an entrepreneur, it’s even more important to know who you are and what you stand for. It takes an intentional effort to become present to who you are, what your strengths are, and how to own them enough to make a difference in your life and happiness. This is not something you want to leave to random chance.
This is an exercise that’s a little like eating potato chips- once you start on this path, you can’t stop.
Knowing who you are and being able to speak it into the world with confidence is one of the learning perks that comes when you’re on this path.
Naturally, there’s a process to it.
Start by choosing 5 people to interview. They must know them well and you must trust them enough to be honest with you.
Here are the questions:
- What are my best strengths?
- What can you count on me for?
- What could use improvement?
- Is there anything you want to tell me that you have been hesitant to before this?
Next, go to your local bookstore and get a copy of the book Strengthsfinders (http://www.amazon.com/strengthsfinder) by Tom Rath. It’s been on the best-seller list for over ten years, you’ll find it in the business best-seller section.
Take the test in the back of the book. It’s a 20 minute timed test that you can’t fake out. Developed by Gallup, it’s designed to identify your top five strengths. What I like about this test is that it takes a general strength like people skills and thin slices it into the specific kinds of people skills. Then gives you a well-researched section that will share all kinds of helpful information for you.
Now you have your interview answers and Strengthfinder summary of your five top strengths. Take a sheet of 8 x 10 paper and draw a circle in the middle (or use mindmapping software). Title this Me. Put each strength on a line that attaches to the middle circle. Now make a list of attributes beside each strength.
Think hard about not only who you are but who you want to be. Make a list of the attributes you want to describe you that go along with your strengths. You don’t have to be perfect in any of these – they can be aspirational. Doing this will give you a map of who you are now, who you want to become and the strengths you have that will get you there.
This is an exercise in clarity that should ignite motivation, self-leadership,and help you find courage when it seems in short supply. It will help you with your entrepreneurial road map and may even help you strengthen your resolve.