How To Figure Out Your Strengths

Vector illustration of a young man with a thoughtful expression, resting his chin on his hands. Above his head are three question marks, indicating confusion or deep thought, while he wears a yellow shirt.

Arguably the biggest key to success is identifying your strengths and knowing how to use them. Understanding what you’re good at, and the talents you possess, enables you to leverage them, helping set you apart. But figuring out exactly what those unique capabilities are isn’t easy. Unless you’re an Olympic athlete or accomplished pianist, they might not be all that clear at first.

To help, we’ve come up with this easy, step-by-step guide that will help you figure out what your strengths are.

Step One: Write down your past times

To determine what you’re good at, start by looking at the things you enjoy doing. Generally, we take joy in our hobbies because they come naturally to us. Jot down a list of your favourite pastimes and give them an enjoyment rating out of 5. Do you see any correlations between them? Do the ones you enjoy most have an underlying theme?

Step Two: Identify your skills

Next to your list of pastimes, write down your known skills. They could be technical, interpersonal, or self-management ones. Consider which subjects or classes you’ve always excelled in and identify the underlying skills that were required for your success. If maths has always been your best subject, then you’re likely very analytical and good at problem-solving, while those who excel in art are creative and imaginative. List them in descending order, starting with your strongest.

Step Three: Consider your natural responses

Often, you’ll find that your unique capabilities will really shine in everyday situations. Are you good at thinking under pressure? Maybe you can quickly calm an upset friend? Do you find yourself the one who’s always organising the social events? Perhaps you always take the lead in group projects? Your everyday reactions and the way you manage situations can quickly reveal your biggest strengths.

Step Four: Ask friends

There’s only so much you can see by looking in the mirror. Seeing your reflection through someone else’s eyes will give you new perspective. Ask five or six people, who interact with you regularly, if they can tell you what your strengths are. Make sure there’s variety in who you ask; don’t just rely on the word of family members, reach out to a few friends, and a colleague or two. In asking a diverse group of people who’ve witnessed you in different situations and environments, you’ll get a well-rounded list. Rank the repeated responses highest.

Step Five: Identify the patterns

Now, with those lists in front of you, you’ll want to look for and identify any patterns throughout all of them. Are there any themes that tie them all together? Do you see any repeats amongst the lists? Look for these connections between them and your strengths will start to reveal themselves.

Figuring out what your strengths are is undeniably important, but honing and using them is the real challenge. Engage in activities that require these strengths in order to build them further, and learn how to apply them in your academics, profession, and personal life.

After trying out this step by step process, head to our master course list to see if any of our course match your strengths.

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Good luck!