How to Identify Authentic, Unique Strengths and Boost Your Confidence


Have you ever shown a two-year-old how to build a tower of blocks?

First, you began with the biggest blocks.Then, balance subsequent blocks on those below, ending with the smallest ones on the top. Once kids get the concept, it’s easy!

However, many adults don’t know how to use similar steps to build a career or life. They don’t know what their biggest blocks are; how to answer the question, “What am I good at?”

Find the essential pieces to building a durable foundation using the Strengthsfinder Assessment.

Take this easy test to identify which five, of 34 possible themes, are your top strengths. It assesses talents in four areas; strategic thinking, executing, influencing, and relationship building.

Many people who have taken this test, remark in surprise, “I’ve been doing that since I was a kid, and never understood why,”  followed by, “I never realized this trait could be a positive thing!”

Recognize that You are One in a 259 Undecillion

The odds that someone has your same order of the 34 Strengthfinder themes are roughly 1 in 259,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.  If you’re curious, that number would be 259 undecillion, and it’s a real number!

You are of one a kind, but so is everyone else.

Your co-worker, who is has a high Activator trait, snaps at you because a project is taking too long. It may not be you she’s mad at, but the cumbersome processes that slow down progress.  Activators can’t wait to turn thoughts into action and may become impatient.

Since you are a Thinker who loves to accumulate information, you know together you can come up with a plan.  

Once you understand your innate traits; you will communicate with confidence.

Dare to Use Your Greatest Strength for More Success at Work

For example, Becky had a job in a merchandise sorting warehouse. She has a high Achiever strength, with stamina and drive; happiest when she can work fast and challenge herself.

Unfortunately, her coworkers complained she was raising the standards of performance to a level they couldn’t or wouldn’t match.

She said, “They’re lazy!” while they told each other, “She’s just trying to make us look bad.”  It got hostile, and she was unhappy. Becky did not stay there long!

Once you understand your strengths, you can look at your workplace and decide if it’s the right fit.

Becky needs a challenge and would thrive at a job that rewarded productivity.

Yes, Each Strength Has Its Challenge

Hardworking, self-motivated, reliable- excellent traits, but maybe not if a person is working 80 hours a week. And cleaning the house and the yard on the weekends; not so good.

Becky’s tower of blocks can come crashing down, resulting in failed relationships and poor health if she doesn’t recognize a healthy life also requires balance. Luckily, she also has a high Learner trait and enjoys reading and the pleasure of mastering a new hobby or sport.

Warning: This Test That Won’t Solve All Your Problems (but it will help!)

We all spend too much time focusing on what we and others, don’t do well. This assessment will help you do the opposite. Learn to focus on what’s positive in yourself and others and I can guarantee you will be happier.

If you want additional insight, try taking the free 16 Personality Test. It focuses on more of your innate personality though it correlates remarkably with the Strengthfinders test.

Combine the results, and you will have new tools with which to construct an authentic, meaningful life.

Live an authentic life. … Being authentic means coming from a real place within. It is when our actions and words are congruent with our beliefs and values. It is being ourselves, not an imitation of what we think we should be or have been told we should be.

By Diane Motl, MSW