Part 2 of the Personality Blog Series
So, you’ve taken the time to discover your unique personality type. You’ve gathered a better understanding of who you are, learned to identify and label your persona, and you dove into what makes you, YOU. The next step? Determining – and examining – your strengths and weaknesses. Why? So that you can become the best possible version of you.
Once you’ve determined your personality type – whether via self-reflection or taking a personality test – jot down the details of your persona. List out the strengths you know you have, as well as any strengths you may not have been consciously aware of. These qualities are, in essence, tools for you to use to become better, in all facets of life. Next, list your weaknesses: that you’re aware of, that others have pointed out to you, and that any test you’ve taken or research you’ve done has revealed. As difficult as it is to look into your flaws, this must be done in order to become better as an individual, and to become a better friend, partner, and coworker as well.
Once you’ve honed in on your strengths, first, take a moment to applaud yourself. You have many amazing qualities listed right in front of you, so let that soak in and keep that list handy for any days in the future when you need a confidence boost or a reminder of just how amazing you are. Next, go through that list of strengths and separate them into strength levels. Identify which ones are top strengths – meaning your best qualities, or ones you have little to improve upon. You’ll want to capitalize on these strengths and use them to your advantage (but we’ll cover that in detail in our next blog.)
Then list your mid-tier strengths and your low-tier strengths, or the qualities you are competent in but could improve. These are the most important strengths to identify. From there, form a game plan. Our innate, top-tier strengths carry us far, but if we are to become the best versions of ourselves, we need to perfect the lower-level strengths that we have. Your game plan for improvement should include strategies and situations for you to practice and gradually improve upon your lower-level qualities.
For example, let’s say you’ve identified verbal communication as a lower-level strength. You’re good at verbally communicating with others, but you could be better at being more clear, more direct, or more thorough in your communication style. After identifying this quality, write down strategies you can begin implementing in an effort to practice, and eventually perfect, this quality of yours, bringing it from a low-tier to a top strength. This will become your game plan for improvement. Strategies could include: making an effort to listen more intently during conversations so that your responses will be more clear and focused; or taking the time to think through a response before saying it aloud so that you are more clear and thorough.
Then, put these strategies into practice. Start by using them in conversations at home, with friends, and then in the workplace. The key is to become more intentional in your interactions and to use common, everyday scenarios in your own practice arena. Eventually, with practice, the improvements you’ve consciously made will become second-nature, and you’ll find you’ve just created another top-tier strength to add to your repertoire.
Next up: weaknesses. These are the flaws in our personalities, the inhibitors to our best selves, and the qualities holding us back from achieving all that we want to achieve. Once you’ve listed off your weaknesses, reflect on how each one affects you, your life, and your relationships. Are there certain qualities that are holding you back from finding success? Any that are straining the relationships you have, or that create self-doubt or a negative self-view? Those are the qualities we want to work on changing so that our lives become more positive and allow for growth.
Once the most influential weaknesses are identified, take a good look at your environment to determine if that has had an impact on the development, or appearance, of these weaknesses. If we are to be our best selves, with our strengths at the forefront of our personalities, we need to ensure our environment allows the best parts of ourselves to thrive. If your space is full of negativity – of toxic relationships, a stressful work environment, or a negative headspace – all that is negative will thrive instead. So, curate your surroundings to allow room for improvement in weaknesses and the opportunity for strengths to grow and develop. Filter out the toxic people from your life, make adjustments at work to limit stress and create more enjoyment, and fuel your mind with positivity (revisiting your list of strengths is a great start!).
Next, repeat the steps you took when improving your low-tier strengths: game plan and practice. However, note that improving weaknesses will require much more time and effort than improving upon a skill or positive quality you already have. Making a good, lasting change in life takes consistency and dedication, so begin by tackling one weakness at a time, starting with a trait that may be easier to improve. The goal is to create a series of small wins for yourself, building up confidence and proof that you can – and will – make the improvements you seek over time.
For example, let’s say you’re a “Yes Man” or a “Yes Woman:” you have a difficult time saying no to others, and as a result, you spread yourself a bit too thin. A first small step in improving this weakness would be to remove yourself from environments or situations that pressure you into saying “yes” all the time. The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ does have some weight to it; don’t allow yourself to fall into situations that may tempt you, or bring out a weakness you’re trying to improve. Once that first strategy has become a habit – say, you’ve become comfortable removing yourself from situations that may pressure you into say “yes” – move on to the next strategy in your game plan. Make that one a habit, then continue on until you’ve conquered that weakness and formed a new strength in turn. The little changes you make will add up and give you the confidence to make larger improvements in your life and personality over time.
In next week’s Balance Blog, we’ll explain how to use your personality strengths to your advantage.