Do you know your personal strengths? A very easy question, but if I would be the interviewer in an job-interview, what would you answer? Can you name your biggest personal strengths instantly?

Why it’s Good to Know Your Biggest Personal Strengths

Knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses can help you a lot in choosing the right career or making good decisions. Because if you are able to focus what you do around your personal strengths, you have the chance to create something remarkable, while making it look like it’s almost effortless for you.

Your biggest personal strength is what is easy for you.  [Tweet this!]

And probably not easy for everyone else. This is what you do best and where your real talents are. If you want to have a comfortable life you should focus on using those strength to the fullest, because that’s where you have an competitive advantage and where you can create the most value for other people.

Also, similar to knowing your personal values, knowing your strengths and weaknesses raises your self-awareness and gives you clarity.

Define Your Personal Strengths

When you try to find your own strength, think about what comes naturally easy for you. And don’t choose attributes that you would like to have or that you admire. This is a typical trap. Especially avoid those which seem hard to do for you.

Instead choose those that are describing your core. What is so obvious that you almost doesn’t notice it in you anymore, since it is like your very nature?

Here are some examples of typical people’s strengths:

Action-Oriented Adventurous Analytical Artistic
Athletic Authentic Caring Clever
Compassionate Charming Communicative Confident
Courageous Creative Curious Determined
Disciplined Educated Empathetic Emotional Intelligent
Energetic Entertaining Fast Flexible
Focussed Good-Looking Helping Inspiring
Intelligent Leadership Learning Motivated
Optimistic Open-Minded Organized Outgoing
Patient Precise Responsible Self-Controlled
Speaking Spontaneous Social / People Skills Strategic Thinking
Team-Oriented Thoughtful Trustworthy Visionary
Warm Willpower Wisdom

Choose those that fit your strengths and then compare them against each other to bring them into an order. 1 is your biggest strength and 5 (or do 10 if you like) is at the 5th place. When you compare them ask yourself: “What can I do better?”

My own biggest personal strength are:

  1. Strategic Thinking
  2. Focussed
  3. Learning
  4. Creative
  5. Seeing the Essence (This is my “Unique Strength“)
  6. Open-Minded
  7. Inspiring
  8. Visionary
  9. Willpower
  10. Confident

I would love to read your own list in the comments below!

It can also be interesting think about a big strength you have that is relatively rare in most other humans. For instance strategic thinking is a relatively rare quality, while for instance confidence or creativity is not really. So when you are thinking about your career, maybe you should build your work around those personal strengths that you do possess but most other people don’t. Then you can create the most value for others.

It’s also important not to confuse strengths with likes. What you like to do is not necessarily what you do best. It can be, but it’s not a given. Of course, for a successful career you want to combine these two in order to overlap your strengths with your passion.

Find Your Personal Weaknesses

Equally important as knowing your personal strengths is knowing your personal weaknesses. Those are attributes that you will have a hard time when doing it, it’s difficult for you. That’s why you should try to let people who are better than you do this.

Everybody has weaknesses. It’s a natural thing, humans are not perfect. So don’t be embarrassed to look at your weaknesses. It will help you to improve yourself to know them.

And here are some examples of typical people’s weaknesses:

Aggressive Arrogant Bossy Chaotic
Close-minded Complaining Contemptuous Controlling
Cynical Fearful Greedy Hesitant
Ignorant Impatient Impulsive Indifferent
Insensitive Intolerant Irresponsible Lazy
Lethargic Loose-tongued Mistrustful Moody
Naive Negative Obstructive Passive
Prejudiced Reckless Rude Selfish
Shallow Short-sighted Shy Sloppy
Stubborn Slow Strict Undisciplined
Vague Wasteful

There are probably more, so don’t hesitate to use them and write them into the comments.

Here are my personal top 5 weaknesses:

  1. Lethargic
  2. Ignorant
  3. Slow
  4. Stubborn
  5. Hesitant

So I have to work on those weaknesses in order to not make them matter too much in my life. Everybody has 1 or 2 weaknesses that you have to keep in check. If you don’t they will produce negative consequences and may even disrupt your efforts while you use your personal strength.

So identify them, and if you are brave enough, write them into the comments below as well! :-)

Should You Improve Weaknesses or Focus on Strengths?

That’s a tough question. In general it’s much better to focus on using your personal strengths and try to control your weaknesses. A good business strategy can be to focus your energies on your strength only and try to outsource or delegate tasks that would bring you into your personal weaknesses.

On the other hand, facing your weaknesses can have a lot of potential for personal growth. If you are not good at something, improving even slightly can have a nice positive impact on your overall quality of life.

An example would be if you are a lousy cook, improving your cooking skills slightly could give you benefits in everyday life. You don’t have to be a master to profit from cooking. Same would be if you are not good at sports. Starting to run can be really helpful for your overall health, although you will never run a marathon or start at the olympic games.

I remember a documentary about Michael Jordan where it said that Jordan was never good at shooting from the distance, but he improved it to a master level by constant practice. Same with his defensive game. It said “He asked what are my weaknesses and how can I make those my strength?”
Well… I would say these where no real weaknesses, they just weren’t his absolute strengths in the game. Still, by almost fanatic practice he improved even this part of his game. It may would have given other results if he would had to play chess against Garry Kasparov on the basketball court… ;-)

Conclusion

So knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses can give you a lot of insights in understanding and changing yourself. And it will help you to make the right decisions.

Please do the little exercise and reveal your own personal strengths and weaknesses. Write them into a comment and I might comment back on them later.