Determining and leveraging my strengths has really made a difference in how Elah Tree has moved forward. Once I was able to determine the type of business that my strengths would be best utilized, I was then able to stop trying to strengthen my weaknesses and do that which I was best at.
I have spent many years trying to figure out my strengths and I have also spent a lot of time trying to strengthen my weakness. One of those steps is beneficial, the other one kept me from really finding my groove. I'm not sure where the idea began, but I think there is a stigma to be "welled rounded." The only thing is, we can't be "welled rounded" at everything. We can't do everything and be the best at everything. We all have very unique strengths and gifts and it's important to determine what each of those are for each of us.
WHAT DRAINS YOU?
When determining our strengths it is sometimes easier to determine out weaknesses first. Or determine the activities that drain us. It look me a long time to figure out that being a portrait photographer included a lot of activities that drained me. Location scouting, for example, was an activity that really drained me. And every time we moved it was even harder. Adapting quickly to change is also a weakness of mine. Change in general has never been the problem, adapting quickly was. As a portrait photographer, I had to be quick on me feet, I had to adjust quickly to changes in lighting, location, and things that weren't working. During each session I did my best to adjustment to these change with grace, but it was always so draining and it zapped my creativity.
What are activities that really drain you? What about them really zap your energy?
WHAT ENERGIZES YOU?
One of the reasons that adapting to change was a weakness of mine was because one of my strengths is processing. I take a long time to process things and this is something that is very unique to me. Being able to process information, especially information that I enjoy, really energizes me. One of reasons that styled stock photography is so ideal for me is because I spend weeks processing information for sessions.
What are some activities that really energize you? Are you energized by working alone? Are you energized by working around a lot of people? How do you process information? Are you energized by going to new places?
WHAT ARE THINGS YOU AVOID?
I was thinking about this question and I was thinking about how we probably all have things we would like to avoid, like going to the DMV, haha! But these are things we avoid because they take away from our creative process or they drain us. For me, driving was something I would avoid within a work or creative environment. This particular avoidance is probably due to our circumstances, as Tyler and I have moved a lot since being married. Because I know this about myself I knew that building a business that required a lot of driving just wasn't going to work for me.
When determining the things you avoid, ask yourself why it's an avoidance. Are you avoiding it simply because it's inconvenient? Or do you avoid it because it's a endurance to your creative process? Also ask yourself if the avoidances are necessary for your business or creative process.
WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU UNIQUE?
I honestly think this one is rather hard to answer on your own. I always feel the need to ask friends and family. To get started, list items that make you unique. These are things that are incredibly specific to you. Once you're finished ask a few friends and family members. Our friends and family usually see us different then we see ourselves and are able to point out our unique strengths.
Something that I learned was strength of mine was processing written information, but I didn't know this was a strength until I saw that it wasn't a strength for others. I always assumed that the speed in which I processed written information or produced written information was average. Sometimes we don't know what are strengths are until someone helps us see them.
Determining and leveraging our strengths can be such an encouraging experience. Forcing ourselves to continue to work or create in our weaknesses can sometimes cause us to feel inadequate and insecure. I hope these 4 questions will help you determine some of your strengths so you can start leveraging them. What are other questions you have asked yourself to help you determine your strengths? xoxo. Samantha