That day I learned something. And that is a learning I decided to apply to my life.
It was the new years’ eve and the entire family had gathered together to ring in the New Year. I decided to whip up something new, something different that evening. I began with confidence but each time I tasted the dish, I had the sense that the dish was lacking in something. Some 3 tastings later, I decided that there was an inherent weakness in the recipe. I kept trying to correct that weakness and in the process ruined what could have become a perfect Master Chef worthy experimental dish.
A couple of hours later, just as the clock was about to strike twelve, I reflected over what went wrong with the dish. I had looked at the cooking process all wrong. I was so obsessed with correcting the weaknesses in the dish that never once did I try to work on the strengths of the recipe. I could have done so much to enhance the taste, some of the flavours were so spot- on and the colour did look perfect.
That night I realized that we tend to focus on our weaknesses way too often when instead we should focus on our strengths, the actual secret sauce for success. I realized that if I want to excel in whatever I do, I need to focus on my strengths and draw out the best from myself.
According to Gallup Database of Strengths- based Interventions, employees who learn to use their strengths are 7.8% more productive on the job and have 14.9% lower turnover.
In fact, during the 1950s, Nebraska School Study Council carried out a state- wide research to identify which teaching method could help improve rapid reading speed. While the statistical results to identify the teaching methods did remain insignificant, two interesting results came to light. The data revealed that performance increased 1.6 times for average performers and performance increased by 8 times for students who were naturally able to read fast.
So what are the ingredients for this secret sauce?
Identify your Capabilities
Think about all your life experiences (the good and the bad) and ask yourself these five questions.
- What was so exciting about that experience?
- How did I handle that experience?
- What did I learn from that experience?
- What was unique about my experience?
- What exciting words can describe how I handled that situation?
Ask any five people you trust what they think are your strengths. Ask them to answer these three questions.
- When do you think I was at my best?
- What did I do well?
- What was unique about the way I handled myself/ the situation?
Invest Time in Developing the Capability
Once you have identified your strengths, invest time in honing them. Practice consistently so that you can perform better.
According to studies conducted by Gallup, an Employee who regularly applies her strengths at work is 5.1 times as likely to strongly agree that she knows what is expected of her at work and 6.2 times as likely to strongly agree that she has the opportunity to do what she does best every day.
Leverage your Strengths
Restructure your roles in such a way that you take on tasks which capitalize on your strengths. Are you excellent at creating presentations? Why not share a presentation with colleagues highlighting processes followed in the department? This will let the concerned people identify your strengths and the same time will highlight how you take initiatives.
So go out there and shine the light on your strengths and expertise and see success follow you around. If you want help in figuring out your strengths, you can explore the Self-Awareness and Personality Development course offered by SoaringEagles.
– Aparna KH, Learning Facilitator & Confidence Coach, SoaringEagles