Fine Tuning: How to Identify Strengths

Fine Tuning_ How to Identify Strengths
Most, if not all of us, have heard about the importance of addressing our weaknesses. Improve the areas where you lack needed expertise or skill and excellence will soon follow.

But what about your strengths?

While it’s never a bad idea to get better in your areas of weakness, identifying and leveraging your strengths will make you stronger personally and professionally.

The first step, however, is figuring out your strengths.

1. Ask for feedback

Asking for honest feedback from friends you trust and whose opinions you value is an ideal way to understand where your strengths lie. You might ask your friend to name 3 of your strengths. Or, you may solicit the opinions of many and then look for common themes among their responses.

2. What excites you the most?

One way to recognize your core strengths is to identify activities that truly excite you. In most cases, these are the things which you’re good at and those that keep you energized and motivated.

3. Take an assessment or personality test

If you’re having trouble identifying your unique abilities, you may want to take an evaluation like the Reflected Best Exercise or Gallup’s StrengthFinder. Or, you may opt to take a personality test,  like the DISC Personality Testing, which is a useful resource to help identify your strengths and weaknesses.

4. What are your values?

Knowing your core values makes it easier to identify your strengths. Your values, after all, shape how you think about yourself, others, and the world. Think about people you respect and the traits that you admire about them. Or, think about your community and the one thing you’d change about it if you had the opportunity. Moreover, consider if the life you’re leading now agrees with your values.

5. Do your own evaluation

It’s great to receive feedback from others when recognizing your strengths but it’s important to do your own honest assessment, as well. Think about the aspects of your personality that you’d call strengths, including kindness, generosity, open-mindedness, etc. Consider the innate talents or abilities that fit with your sense of self and your vision for the future.

6. What do you do differently?

If you’re truly using your strengths, chances are you’ll stand out from the crowd. What are you doing that’s unique and separates you from others during those moments?

7. Try new things

What you think may be a weakness is actually something that you’ve never tried or you lack of experience. A great way to grow – and uncover new strengths – is by pushing yourself to do things you’ve never tried before. For instance, you could take a painting or dancing class, launch your website, or try a new athletic experience, such a yoga or rock climbing.

8. Journaling

Numerous studies have shown how useful journaling is for becoming more self-aware and reflective about your strengths and desires. Whether it’s listing the memorable moments of your day, diary-style, or including more detail about your thoughts and desires, you’ll learn more about yourself and your strengths.


Shift Into Gear – 3 Ways to Boost Productivity

Shift Into Gear - 3 Ways to Boost Productivity

Being more productive isn’t just about getting more done. It’s about getting your body into the right shape to maximize your productivity.  These are 3 ways to shift your gears out of neutral and into overdrive.

Drink more water

Most of the stuff inside us is made of water and not being well-hydrated has been known to have a huge impact on your well-being and productivity.

Sleep – Drink a glass of water before bed. This will help your body replenish itself overnight. It will help relax you and allow your body to balance. You’ll wake up feeling rested, refreshed, and ready to start the day.

Focus – Dehydration is the most common reason for moodiness and a shorter attention span. Water is brain food, so getting enough will keep you alert and focused. Not drinking enough water can cause nervousness and anxiety.

Energy – Being tired, feeling dizzy, and “blah” are signs that you’re not getting enough water. Keeping your body hydrated will help keep you awake and alert during the mid-afternoon slump.

Mood – Water affects your mood. Not drinking enough water can make you confused, tense, and irritable. Keep your brain happy and well-hydrated. It will promote more calm and positive thinking.

Eat healthy

What you eat directly affects your energy and mood. Sugar and junk foods may give you a quick boost of energy, but a crash is not far behind. Moderate and lasting energy is better than a quick rush and a low crash. Eating healthy is essential for being productive.

Antioxidants – Foods high in antioxidants help protect the brain from degeneration, boost focus, and improve memory. Blueberries, almonds, whole grains, and raisins have healthy antioxidants.

Zinc – Zinc is helpful for focusing your thinking skills and improving your memory. Pumpkin seeds, spinach, kidney beans, and peanuts are all high in Zinc.

Flavonoids – Vibrant, colorful foods are full of flavonoids which increase blood-flow to the brain. It boosts your attention span, problem-solving capability, and memory. Dark chocolate, berries, bananas, and green vegetables are good sources of flavonoids.

Vitamins – Foods with lots of vitamins help you fight fatigue and keep your energy levels up over a longer period of time. Foods rich in vitamins include sunflower seeds, carrots, squash, and cantaloupe.

Get enough sleep

Sleep is often overlooked when trying to be more productive. Most of us feel like sleep is wasting time. But you can be better, faster, and stronger if you sleep more!

Recover Focus – If you’re tired, you will have trouble focusing. If your thought process is interrupted, you’ll take longer to get back on track.  Your temper will be harder to control.

Prevent Burn Out – Sleeping less than six hours per night almost always leads to burnout. This zaps our motivation for a job well done. Instead, we just want to get the job done.

Make Better Decisions – A lack of sleep reduces your response time by more than 50%! This is even lower than someone who’s been drinking!  Getting enough sleep will help you to make better and more accurate decisions.

Better Memory – Sleep-deprived zombies are more likely to forget something that was just said, or correctly follow a series of instructions in order.

If you’re having trouble getting all of your zzz’s at night, try taking a nap. Catnaps for 10 or 20 minutes can do wonders for helping you catch up on your sleep. You’re still better to get a full night sleep, but a nap can give you enough of a power boost to make it through the day.

Creating a Healthy Work Environment

Creating a Healthy Work Environment

A healthy work environment is the best way to keep employees happy. Most employers understand what it takes to make the work environment physically healthy, but emotional health is just as important for your employees. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to ensure an environment that is both physically and emotionally healthy for your employees.

The Physical

Keeping your workplace clean and up to safety code standards is a given. But that isn’t the extent of what you can do to provide a healthy environment.

1. Clean Air

With so many people in close quarters for hours on end, having clean air is essential. One of the best ways to clean the air is by using plants. Some plants purify the air better than others. In addition to the practical aspect, plants help provide a more comfortable, friendly appearance.

2. Ergonomic Furniture

Whether it’s a chair, a keyboard or an adjustable desk, having ergonomic furniture will eliminate many of the work-related aches and pains that come from working in the same position all day.

3. Personal Space

Decorative screens between desks can let employees feel have some breathing room. Personal space is more comfortable than constantly being “on display”. Physical walls create a division that can make employees feel isolated. Screens allow for a general feeling of connectedness while still providing personal breathing room.

The Emotional

Emotional health has been found to directly affect physical health. When creating a healthy work environment, you need to take emotional well-being into account. Here are some ways to do that:

1. Provide recognition

So often those in charge speak up when something goes wrong. Take time to recognize when things go well. Have “good news” meetings where you acknowledge what employees have accomplished.

2. Discourage cliques

When people separate into groups, others get left out. This opens the door to things like bullying. Make sure your employees realize that each person is a valuable member of your team. Enforce a no-bullying rule and don’t allow favoritism.

3. Listen

Let your employees know your door is open to them. Be willing to listen to their thoughts regarding the business. Allow them to come to you with personal issues that may be affecting their performance. Welcome suggestions and input.

4. Respect the individual

Your employees are so much more than “that man in Accounting” or “The Receptionist”. Make it a priority to learn everyone’s name, and use it. Learn about their personal lives. Who’s married? Is someone’s child having health problems? When you show your employees you see them as humans, not just workers, they feel respected and this leads to a positive mental state.

Final Words

These are a few of the ways you can make sure you’re providing a healthy working environment for your employees. If you haven’t done these things in the past, it’s never too late to start. If you have, continue them. In the end, it turns out as a win win for your business and your employees.