Advice, Software Engineer

How To Focus On Your Strengths To Achieve More In Your Career And Life

We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. Often times, it is easier to know what our weaknesses are because we feel challenged or uncomfortable because of them. As for our strengths, we tend to not notice them as much because they come easy to us and we excel at them. For example, if one was an introvert, he’d recognise his weakness whenever he was in social settings. However, if he was an extrovert, he’d have a good time at social settings and wouldn’t think twice about why he enjoyed it.

However, over the years, I have come to realise that it is important to know our strengths because we can leverage them better. Working on improving our weaknesses is good, but it is not going to be quick, easy or enjoyable. However, if we can utilise the strengths that we already have then it will work in our favor better.

So how do we know what are our strengths? The answer is simple, our strengths are things that we are good at. Things that come easy to us (and not necessarily to others). Every one of us have multiple strengths. For example, you may be good at motivating others. Or may be you are good at being organised. Basically, strengths are personal qualities that you already posses, they are not things that you are working on.

It makes sense to use and improve on our strengths than weaknesses because we have a positive association with our strengths and we are able to achieve better result in a shorter time when we do things that are linked to our strengths.

So the question then is how do we focus and leverage our strengths in our career? I am sure there are many ways and there is no right nor wrong answer but the following is my approach.

1. Write down up to three key strengths. Think about things that you are naturally good at and get complimented on. For example, people always comment about how organised you are and you like putting things in order.
2. Identify areas within your organisation where you can actively exercise your strength. For example: keeping track of projects and making a checklist that others can use
3. Observe the impact, ask for feedback when possible (this could be as simple as asking the person who used the checklist you created on what they thought of it) and continuously improve what you do

Speaking of improving, if we are keen learners with a strong desire for continuous learning then, we might want to look at obtaining more skills based on our strengths.

In order to do that, we need to know the adjacent qualities or skills to our already existing strengths. For example, if we are good at giving presentations, the adjacent skill that we might like to work on is public speaking. Likewise, if we are good at cooking, we might want to look at developing recipes. This process is actually fun and fulfilling because we are doing what we love to do (learning) and we know we will be good at it in no time (strength).

In conclusion, the message is loud and clear; focus on our strengths and be the best version that we can be while staying happy and positive.

Career Guide for Software Developers