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At most job interviews you’re asked the question: “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” For a lot of us, that question is pretty loaded. Most articles on job interviews think that it’s about assessing your skills. You find out your knowledge-based or transferable skills and that you match up what your employer is seeking based on the job description. I think that’s only partly true, and necessary when you’re trying to get the job. The real thing about strengths and weaknesses goes a bit deeper.
Your strengths are Marcus Buckingham puts it like this:
“A strength is ‘an activity that makes you feel strong.’ It is an activity where the doing of it invigorates you. Before you do it, you find yourself instinctively looking forward to it. While you are doing it, you don’t struggle to concentrate, but instead, you become so immersed that time speeds up, and you lose yourself in the present moment. And after you are finished doing it, you feel authentic, connected to the best parts of who you are. “
This is different than a hobby. Many of us get immersed in something we do in our spare time, but this applies to the workplace. A strength at work is something that empowers you and you look forward to doing. When you focus your time on your strengths, it invigorates you. Weaknesses are the opposite. They are the things that wear you down.
Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can organize these things to your advantage. Team up with people who energized by the tasks that exhaust you to tackle projects together, so you have more time to do things you excel at.