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Step #5 on How To Leverage Your Strengths

Which person is the most critical of you? I’m guessing 99.99% of folks, if answering honestly, will admit it is themselves! We are often our own worst critics, which can be crippling to achieving our goals and becoming the best version of ourselves. Having a tool to honestly and authentically unlock and acknowledge our best skills, talents, and behaviors can make it so much easier than fighting our inner critic.

Each of the steps in the Leverage Your Strengths workbook has you assess different aspects of your talents and skills to bring those positive attributes to the surface. For today, let’s take a deeper dive into Step #5 exercise, which addresses writing your story.

I remember working through a similar exercise a few years ago to help me define career highlights for the purpose of updating my resume, and I was astounded at the outcome. There were more juicy, bold, and highly impactful accomplishments than I had ever realized, much less given myself credit. In Step #5, you walk through the decades of your life and summarize those highlights. This isn’t limited to career moves or work output. Personal events are often the biggest influencers that mold our strengths. We then carry those traits over to our professional lives. So, in this exercise, you want to consider both personal and professional accomplishments that make up your story.

Here is the simple table format for Exercise #5 to document your life story and uncover those strengths:

Go through each decade and summarize the highlights of the good and the bad. It’s always easier to point out what worked well in the good. Have you pinpointed what you did in terms of behavior, habits, or skills specifically that led to success?

It might surprise you to learn that the tough times are as important, if not more, in showing your strengths than those times when you were at the top of your game. We remember all the bad times. But the mere fact that you are reading this blog indicates you survived the bad parts somehow. As the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Think about how you muddled through those lowest moments during each decade. What skill or behavior served you best? What did you use to get you through a tough time? How is that skill or behavior transferrable to your present-day situation? Can you call upon that learning to help you improve?

As you go through the different decades in your assessment, do you see positive trends in how you handled crisis, failure, or disappointment? What behaviors resulted in positive outcomes for you? These are the attributes you want to denote and keep at the forefront of your consciousness. And as it says in Leverage Your Success – use those attributes to your advantage!

Step #5 is one of 9 steps in Leveraging Your Strengths. It’s a powerful exercise. What I love about this particular step is how you already know the specific outcome of using your strengths. If you want to go through the whole workbook, you can click here to get the workbook on Amazon. You’ll be amazed at what you learn about yourself and now you’ll have permission and ideas on how to put your strengths to good use – accomplishing your goals. And here is one other really fun exercise I discovered that is similar to writing your story. Send Letters To My Future Self! How about projecting future decades to see what accomplishments you could have - using those strengths that you just identified.

Jodi Henson is a business consultant and entrepreneur. She works with prospective and existing small business owners to help them overcome challenges and attain their goals. Jodi lives in NE Florida with her husband. You can contact her at

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