Just because many of us don’t look forward to going to work doesn’t mean we don’t want to contribute when we get there. Contrary to popular belief, most people who go to work aren’t just there for a paycheck. It’s why millennials are known for job-hopping. If they don’t feel like they’re a member of the team, they’ll find an employer who makes them feel a member of the team!
However, just because you want to contribute at work doesn’t mean you know how to do that. You have to know your strengths, which is something that most of us don’t know!
So, how do you uncover your strengths, and when you do, how do you start using them at work?
What Experiences Make You Happiest During the Workday?
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It’s easiest to start simple. The quickest and easiest question you can ask yourself is what makes you happy during the workday.
Good managers ask this of their employees. Culture IQ recommends it, “While this may feel ‘soft,’ what it tells you about an employee is where their strengths most intersect with their passion: a wonderful recipe for motivation and success.”
You don’t have to wait for your manager to ask. Think about when you’re happiest during the workday, and try to uncover what it is that makes you so happy. Once you discover that, you can look for ways to integrate it into your daily work life.
Which Tasks Cause You to Enter a State of Flow?
Work ceases to be work when you enter a state of flow. That means you’re so involved in a task that you lose your concept of time.
A few examples of activities that may make you experience a state of flow include:
- Learning and practicing a new skill
- Teaching important skills to others
- Advising how to solve a problem
- Working alone undisturbed
Any activity can cause you to enter a state of flow, so start paying attention to the times in your day when you’re completely engaged in a task. Even if it’s answering your emails, it’s information that can inform you about your strengths!
Ask Others What They Think You’re Good At
Asking for candid feedback can be nerve-racking. It involves you being vulnerable, especially since it usually also consists of the possibility of receiving negative feedback. Not all feedback has to be that way!
Instead of asking for feedback on the details of a project, or what coworkers and managers think you can do to improve, ask them what they think your strengths are.
Often, we’re too close to our strengths to notice what they are. After all, they come naturally to you, so you may not even know it’s something you’re good at! Getting feedback from someone who sees your work daily can uncover things about yourself that you’ve never thought about before.
What Do You Love to Do When You’re Not at Work?
Most people don’t think a lot about their strengths at home. They want to know their strengths as they relate to their job so they can work their way up the corporate ladder, but you don’t just have strengths sitting behind a desk.
If you want to uncover your most genuine strengths, you have to think about what you love to do when you aren’t at work. It might include a hobby, how you relate to other family members, or your ability to organize a closet from top to bottom. Finding these strengths can make you happier at home, but they can also spill over into your work life, making you more satisfied when you’re in the office too.
Uncover Your Weaknesses
It’s a lot easier to think about what we aren’t good at than what we are good at. That’s why it’s essential to think through your strengths first. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your weaknesses have nothing to teach you.
Sometimes, uncovering your strengths is made easier when you also know what you aren’t very good at. For example, if you get nervous and trip over your words whenever you have to make a call at work, you may also discover that you’re good at sending succinct emails. Knowing this about yourself enables you to turn your weakness into a strength. Another member of your team can handle phone calls with clients, while you can be in charge of composing emails.
Work Confidently and Sell Your Strengths
Once you discover your strengths, it’s time to start putting them to work, but just because you begin integrating your strengths into your job duties doesn’t mean anyone is going to notice.
Confidence is key. Owning your strengths is a version of owning who you are as a person. That is one of the most vulnerable things you can do, but it’s essential if you want to do more of what you’re good at work. When your manager notices your confidence, they’re more likely to provide you with tasks that match your talents.
It means selling your strengths too. If you’re working hard and it seems like no one is noticing, don’t be afraid to go to your manager and discuss your strengths with them!
Ask for the Work You Want
Being straightforward is the best way to ensure you’re using your strengths and talents to the best of your ability. If a project comes along, don’t be afraid to ask for it!
Discuss your strengths with your manager and they will recommend work for you, but if there’s a new project you think would be a good fit for your strengths, or there’s a task in the office that you would like to lead, don’t be afraid to stand up and ask.
Don’t dread going into work every day because you feel like a body taking up space in the office. Feel like you’re making a difference and return home feeling fulfilled by uncovering and using your strengths every single day.