For some of us, our strengths manifested themselves at an early age.
Take gymnast Simone Biles, for example. The Olympic Gold Medalist was doing back-flips in her living room at age 6. By 14, she was competing in gymnastics tournaments on a national level. And by 19, well, I think we all saw her twist herself into a corkscrew and hurtle through the air during the 2016 summer games in Rio.
But what if you’re still discovering your strengths, or never knew them to begin with? Maybe your childhood was full of soccer matches and spelling bees, but woefully lacking when it came to uncovering your innate and abilities and competencies.
In other words, what if yours was a typical childhood?
Thankfully, getting to know your strengths – the unique aptitudes you possess that make you a superstar – doesn’t have an expiration date, because it’s never to late to learn about what makes you who you are.
So if you’ve never sat down and given serious thought to your dazzling attributes, here are a few prompts to get you started.
1. Think about yourself as a child.
What was easy for you? What did you love doing? Did you have a thing for coloring books and Crayolas or did you prefer to choreograph a dance with friends? Did you enjoy building Lego cities or directing a show with a cast of Beanie Babies?
2. Currently, what activities are so absorbing that you lose all track of time while doing them?
Are you a logical number cruncher who hyper-focuses on ledgers until the books are balanced? Or do you get lost while researching theories or statistics for a work project?
3. Think about your friends and family members.
What do they come to you for? Relationship advice? Ideas for their upcoming baby shower? Tips on decorating their new apartment? Help with their taxes? Jot down the last few things friends asked you to help them with.
4. Ask those in your circle (social, family, or work) to list your top 3 strengths.
In their opinion, what do you do better than anyone else? Ask them to be specific, recalling a particular instance in which you demonstrated this.
5. Keep a record of compliments and positive feedback you’ve received.
If you’ve been told you’re punctual, reliable, studious, friendly, thoughtful, or intuitive, write these comments down. After some time, look through them and see if you notice a pattern.
The more time you dedicate to finding your strengths, the easier it will become to develop and hone them. And that’s when the real fun begins, because having a more complete understanding of yourself will help you to know where to best direct your energy. Better yet, it’ll help you avoid wasting time on energy-draining tasks and pursuits.