How long has it been since you’ve thought about your strengths? As I coached two clients through moments of frustration and self-doubt, I was reminded of how important it is to simply notice the value we bring. It can be the difference between staying where you are or moving past the hurdles in front of you.
For example, one of my clients wants to transition into a new role but has been questioning her qualifications for her dream job. So I asked her to present her business case to me, the skills and experience that demonstrate that she has what it takes. She quickly shared at least ten things that clearly showed she would be able to hit the ground running in that role.
“How does that feel saying all that?” I asked her.
“Wow,” the client replied. “I’m kind of a big deal!”
And I couldn’t agree more with her. She is “kind of a big deal.” After our coaching session, my client had the evidence she needed to move forward.
As high performers, we can set the bar so high for ourselves that we may not notice what we have to offer. Or we may have a skewed definition of “average” performance, one that others would see as exceptional performance.
Take a few minutes to notice how you are “kind of a big deal” and what that means for others around you.
1. Identify your top 3 strengths.
The first step is to simply take a step back to consider your biggest strengths. For example, is your integrity unwavering? Do you build strong relationships? Do you influence others? Are you approachable?
2. Identify the "so what" for each strength.
What does each strength allow you to do that other people cannot do? How does each of your strengths make a difference or add value (to the business, your colleagues, or teams)? Challenge yourself to come up with at least two things, and don’t underestimate yourself.
Even something simple, such as being approachable, can make a big difference and may generate a different result than someone else with the same strength. For example, for one leader, being approachable means that her peers feel comfortable coming to her with problems. This keeps her well-informed about what’s really happening across the company and gives her an edge at getting to the crux of an issue and finding effective cross-functional solutions. Another executive may also be approachable, but the impact is greater team engagement, commitment, and performance.
3. Create your personal "headline."
As you examine your strengths and how they make you uniquely valuable, what “headline” would sum it up?
“I can get results even under the worst circumstances.”
“If anyone can get it done, I can.”
“People want to follow me.”
For one of my other clients, his headline was “I have influence.” At the beginning of our conversation, he was feeling ineffective in trying to drive enormous change in the face of resistance. As we talked further, he realized that top executives are listening and taking action based on his recommendations. Think about how that shift — from seeing himself as ineffective to realizing he is influential — will affect his work.
By being more conscious of the value you bring, you’ll see yourself in a new light and put your strengths into play more deliberately each day. And when challenges feel insurmountable or self-doubt kicks in, you can pull out your headline to give you the boost you need to get back on track.
This week, I want to challenge you to take 15 minutes to go through the three steps above. This small investment of time will pay off many times over. Who knows, you may discover that you’re “kind of a big deal,” too. Remember, small steps can lead to big results.