4 Ways to Discover Your Strengths

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  • Topic: George Mason University
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  • Published : April 12, 2013
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4 Ways to Discover Your Strengths

Mad Men's Don Draper is exceptionally good at saving a deal gone sour. When a client dislikes an ad campaign, he can weave the perfect tale to change their minds. His storytelling ability is a gift that no one else at his agency has. To become a successful business leader, identify your own strengths and talents and foster them. Your strengths are ultimately the keys to your success. "When we do things we're already good at, our business acumen is quicker," says Todd Kashdan, a psychology professor at George Mason University and author of Curious? (William Morrow, 2009). "When it comes to the best way to leverage your ability, it's (best) to go through your strengths." he says. Using these four tips, you can learn to recognize your core strengths. Here's how:  1. Watch for signs of excitement. When you engage in an activity you are truly good at, your excitement is visible. Your pupils dilate, your chest is broader, your speech is fast and fluid, and your arms spread wider. "You can see someone feels alive and motivated when they're using a core strength," Kashdan says.  Related: How to Train Your Creative Mind

Ask a close mentor when you appear most animated or observe yourself for a day. When do you feel most engaged? Most energized? "When people are using their strengths, they pop out of the backdrop," Kashdan says. (If observation sounds tricky, you can also take an online survey, like the VIA Character Strengths Test to help you identify and rank your greatest strengths.) 2. Break away from job titles. To uncover your gifts, you need to explore new roles. "Think of your company as a laboratory," Kashdan says. Encourage flexible roles and see how it goes. "If people are excited about trying something else and you have some evidence that they could be good, then experiment with it," he says. For example, one executive wanted a more creative, innovative workplace but wasn't the man to do it himself. Kashdan helped him...
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