How to Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses (Part I-III)

Knowing where you come in strong and where you need assistance can help you stabilize your personal

life and nurture
your professional interactions. Self-knowledge is a powerful tool that too many people disregard

because it's difficult or inconvenient, or perhaps because it makes them feel uncomfortable. What seem like

strengths to one person, moreover, might not necessarily seem that useful to others, which can make figuring

out whether specific qualities you possess are strengths as opposed to weaknesses confusing or frustrating.

While this is something you will have to figure out mostly on your own, there are exercises you can do to identify

your strengths and weaknesses for a job or for personal reasons. There are also some tips to help use these

tactics in a practical setting where they are most needed, a job interview.

Part 1 of 6: Understanding Your Abilities

1. Appreciate your effort. Because you are willing to take a good look at where you are already strong

and where you could stand some improvement, you are a strong person already. It takes guts to sit down and

do this work. Give your awesome self a pat on the back and remember that you are an amazing person.

2. Write down what you do. In order to identify your strengths and weaknesses, think about the

activities you either participate in the most or get the most pleasure out of. Spend a week or so writing down all

of the activities you do throughout the given day, rating them from one to five, depending upon how much you

enjoy doing or participating in them.

3. Reflect on your values. Sometimes, it can be difficult to identify our strengths and weaknesses

because we haven't taken the time to clarify our core values. These are the beliefs that shape how you think

about yourself, others, and the world around you. They are fundamental to your way of approaching life. Taking

some time to identify your values will help you decide whether aspects of your life are strengths or weaknesses

you, regardless of what others may feel about them.

4. Examine your responses for themes and patterns. Once you've reflected on your values, examine

the responses for things that may repeat. For example, perhaps you admire Bill Gates and Richard Branson for

their entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. This suggests that you may value Ambition, Competition, and Ingenuity.

Perhaps you would change the poverty in your community so everyone has a home and food. This suggests you

may value Community, Helping Society, or Making a Difference. You can have several core values.

5. Determine whether your life aligns with your values. Sometimes, we may feel like we have a weak

-ness in a particular area when our lives don't align with our core values, for whatever reason. Living a life aligned

with your values is called "value-congruent" living, and it can lead to greater feelings of satisfaction and success.

6. Consider situational meanings. Think about what constitute strengths or weaknesses relative to the

social conventions or customs within your local context. Social conventions are a set of rules governing

interpersonal interaction which have been established as functional within a certain geological area or culture,

hopefully so as to help maintain healthy social boundaries. Knowing how these differ depending on where you

live can help you determine what might be seen as a strength or weakness in that particular geographic location.

Part 2 of 6: Performing a Reflective Best Self Exercise

1. Find people to ask. To help you figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can do a

Reflective Best Self (RBS) exercise. This helps you figure out what others think about you in order to help you

find your strengths. To start, think of people in every aspect of your life. Include people from work, old jobs, and

former professors or teachers as well as friends and family.

2. Ask for feedback. Once you've chosen your candidate, send them an e-mail asking them about your

strengths. Ask them to give you particular instances where they saw you use these strengths. Make sure to

mention that these strengths can be skill-based or personality -based. Both kinds of responses are important.

3. Look for commonalities. Once you receive all the results, you need to look for things that are similar

in them. Read through each response and think about what it means. Try to pull out what traits each person is

pinpointing, and read the specific instance to see if any other traits arise. After you interpret them all, compare

them to one another and find similar traits that many people mention.

4. Make a self-portrait. Once you have all the results, write a self-portrait analysis of your strengths.

Make sure to incorporate all the different aspects that people pinpointed in their discussion of you and any traits

you brought out in your own analysis.

Part 3 of 6: Listing Your Actions

1. Write about your actions. Consider how you respond in certain situations that require action, thought,

and insight. Before doing anything more concrete, try to monitor your spontaneous reactions to experiences you've

had in life already. Buy or acquire a journal to write your thoughts in.

2. Think of a challenging situation in which something bad happened. Perhaps it's being in a car

crash or a child suddenly dashing out in front of your car while you slam on your brakes. How did you react when

confronted with the spontaneous situation? Did you clam up and retreat or did you meet the challenge head on,

assembling tools and resources to address the situation?

3. Find a less challenging situation. Think about a time when you faced a hard decision but one that

wasn't so life and death. For example, how do you react when you enter a crowded room? Do you want to

engage everyone you meet there or do you want to find a quiet corner away from the noise and connect with

just one person?

4. Consider times you faced a difficult personal situation. Think of a time when you've been put on

the spot and had to react immediately. How quickly did you learn and adapt to new situations? Are you a fast

thinker, rattling off a great comeback when a co-worker makes a snide remark? Or do you tend to absorb, think,

and then react in those situations?

How to Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses (Part IV-VI)


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