Each of us is special. You have your unique strengths and talents - and I have mine. Of course, some are more apparent than others, but we've all got them.
So let me ask you something ... do you know what yours are and are you actively working to hone and develop them?
I'm sure you've been told at one time or another that you're good at something. Maybe you've noticed it for yourself.
Even so, many of us let our natural gifts and talents simmer beneath the surface, waiting until we're able to muster the confidence and courage to actually use them to our best advantage.
Let me share a simple 4 step plan to help you develop your strengths and put you on the path to being all you can be ...
Step 1: Give It a Try!
Often we feel like we might be strong in an area but never really give ourselves the chance to find out for sure. But you'll never know unless you try, right?
So, now's the time to look at things you think might be interesting and try them out. Do a search online. Look for a local opportunity to try something new. Discover what resources are available to you.
Most importantly, commit to stepping outside your comfort zone and experimenting to see what you enjoy and what you are really good at! Remember you won't know until you try.
Step 2: Be Patient
If you're like me, when you finally decide to do something, the next challenge you face is wanting it to happen overnight! But, of course, you can't snap your fingers and expect your strengths to be instantaneously developed to their fullest potential.
That would be nice but it wouldn't be realistic.
Fully developing your strengths and talents takes time and patience. In truth, it is the journey along the way that can be the most enlightening. Though it can take time, there is no question you will learn a lot about yourself with each step you take.
Don't worry about making mistakes. If you stumble and fall, get back up and keep on going. Celebrate your victories along the way - no matter how small. And - above all - enjoy the journey you're on!
Step 3: Have a Plan
The most direct path to any destination starts with having a goal in the first place. So, write down what it is you want to accomplish and decide on a date you'd like to accomplish it by.
You may find yourself tweaking and adjusting your plan as you go, and that's okay. Nothing is set in stone and you'll be learning more about your talents and strengths as you go. Use that new knowledge to help propel you forward.
Be realistic about your expectations and go over your goals often to help keep you on track. You may even want to try hanging them up where you can see (and read!) them, each and every day. Stick a copy on the bathroom mirror. Tape one to the kitchen cupboard. And don't forget to have a copy on your desk!
The more often you review your goals, the easier it will be for you to stay focused. And the more focused you are, the more motivated you will be to do what it takes to get you where you're going.
Step 4: Believe in Yourself
Confidence can be one of your greatest allies when it comes to discovering and developing your gifts and talents. Setting out on a course of personal growth and discovery is never easy.
But truly believing in yourself and your ability to do what you put your mind to is crucial if you want to succeed.
As Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Believe you can and you're halfway there."
Truth is the greatest challenge we face is often inside our heads. It is so easy to let negative thoughts shake us up and drag us down. The trick is pushing past the bad days and getting back on track. That is the only way to keep the momentum going.
One Last Thought ...
Discovering what you're really good at might seem like an enormous task - it might seem like something you'll never be able to figure out. But I know you can. Yes, it's going to take some work and commitment. But then, everything worth doing does.
Focus on the big picture. The pride and confidence that comes with knowing just what your strengths and talents are. How using your strengths to your best advantage can open the door to so many unexpected opportunities!
You deserve the best in this world. Taking steps to develop your strengths and talents will get you there.
Jan Marie Mueller is the founder and CEO of ThinkBrilliantly.com. As a firm believer in personal growth and development for a better, more productive life, she's passionate about helping people recognize the power they have to define and direct their lives through the choices they make.
Jan is also a successful business owner, author, community volunteer and co-founder of the German non-profit Helping Hands for Children in Tanzania.
For more information on tips, strategies and resources on living your best life, visit http://www.ThinkBrilliantly.com.
While you're there be sure to download the FREE Developing Self-Awareness Guide & Workbook she's put together for you: http://www.ThinkBrilliantly.com/Free-Guide. Discover just what you need to do to start knock down the barriers and start living the life you've always dreamed of.
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