Deep down you know what your special strength is – I’ll bet you lead with your strength every day. The strength may even be something you take for granted because it just works. People around you take notice when you accomplish a goal or see an act of kindness and often see how or why you did it as one of your strengths.

I often wonder if we tend to use our strengths when the reward at the end is something positive. What happens when you are trying to deal with adversity? Do you lead with your strength?

Identifying Your Strengths

Take a moment to write down all your strengths. Make a list of up to 10 strengths and prioritize them.

Consider what other people think are your strengths too! You probably have received feedback from your family, colleagues, or boss at work. If you are not sure what they would say, ask them! This is a great opportunity to know how you are being perceived by others.

Don’t to forget to consider strengths that may not be obvious. When you ask others for feedback, you will probably find strengths you did not think about.

Once you have your list together, circle the first three strengths – these are your core strengths. Your core strengths are what you lead with naturally.

Analyzing Your Strengths

Think about each of the strengths you listed and ask yourself:

  • When do I use the strength?
  • How effective am I using that strength in that type of situation?
  • Which strengths do I lead with when my agenda is successful?
  • Do I lead with my strengths in times of adversity?
  • Should I be using my strengths in other types of situations?
  • If so, why am I not doing it?

My suggestion is to write out your answers and save them. At some point, you may find your analysis to be helpful when you are facing a new situation.

Leading with Adaptive Strengths

You may find that there are strengths you rely on when things are going well and other strengths when facing adversity. As long as you are getting the results you want, you are leading with adaptive strengths.

Leading with Misaligned Strengths

Would you get better results using some of your other strengths during times of adversity? When you lead with misaligned strengths, you either have fallen into the trap of:

  1. Doing what you always do and it doesn’t work
  2. Using the wrong strengths
  3. Abandoning your strengths

In the first situation, you continue to rely on the same strengths without assessing the situation to determine if some other strength would be more beneficial.

The second situation is consciously using a strength which may or may not be one of your core strengths. The misstep is you picked the wrong ones to deal with in this situation.

Abandoning your strengths happens when fear sets in and paralyzes you. It often occurs when you are facing a new situation that on the surface doesn’t represent anything you have encountered in your lifetime.

If you find yourself doing an 180̊ turn, it’s time to step back and take a deep breathe. You might want to enlist the aid of a friend, coach or other neutral party. Review the list you made earlier and think about what other kinds of situations might be similar or transferable and tap into that strength.

It is always easier to use your strength when life is going smoothly; the challenge begins when you have to use your strengths to overcome adversity.