I love Oprah. Who doesn’t? She is named “most influential woman of her generation.” Wikipedia defines her as a media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist.
Oprah isn’t the most technically trained. She didn’t study at the best schools but yet, she has resounding success in everything she does. How does she do it?
Oprah follows a simple strategy.
She plays to her strengths.
All through her life, she has found a way to harness her strengths, her ability to connect with individuals, her authenticity, her charisma led her to her early career as a talk show host.
She stayed true to herself when the rest of the talk shows focused on tabloids she focused on content that interested her. She opened up about herself creating vulnerability and authenticity.
Oprah chose to focus her energy on harnessing her strengths, her talents which made her unique.
So simple, right? But believe it or not, we are not hardwired that way. Humanity is conditioned to focus on their weaknesses.
Don’t just take my word for it. The Gallup organisation tested this theory. They asked parents this one question. “Your child comes home with the following grades, English A, Social Studies A, Biology C and Algebra C. Which subject deserves the most attention.” 77% of respondents said Algebra.
It sounds like my high school report card. I excelled in arts and the creative. Any subject that I could express myself. I won the art award every year through school. On the other hand, I was absolutely terrible at maths. What happened? I got a maths tutor.
So I moved my D to a C, but was I ever going to be a mathematician?
What happened to my creative flair? For a long time, it lay dormant. It was only later in life that I had an opportunity to harness my strengths in that area.
It’s time for a paradigm shift. Instead of focusing on what we need to fix, let’s focus on where we have the most creative energy, unleashing the very essence of human potential.
What am I good at?
When you are operating in your strengths, you are on fire. You naturally have the best ideas; you are at your most creative. The decisions and solutions are all there in front of you. You are energised and fulfilled. Time passes in a blink of an eye.
Now I do want to say, just because you are good at something doesn’t make it a strength. We all have developed and learned skills along the way. My husband is Korean; I have learned to cook Korean food. Is it a strength? No. Does it taste good? I hope he would say yes. It is a learned skill I have mastered after seventeen years together.
Sometimes the answer to what you are good at goes back to your childhood. What did you like to do, what did you naturally gravitate to when you were young?
I know I used to get into trouble all the time for talking to the adults. I was always asking questions, sharing with them my stories, my thoughts, my ideas. My mum used always to ask me to play with kids my age. Funny that was my strengths coming out at such a young age.
How often am I doing it?
Only 20% of our workforce believe that they have an opportunity to do what they do best every day. * That means 80% of us are working in roles, projects, companies where they do not get to utilise their full potential.
Ask yourself this question, how often are you operating in your most energised state? If the answer is less than what you want it to be then why don’t you do something about it? Perhaps, organise a meeting with your manager, see if there is a project, task you can get involved in. Maybe you can liaise with team members and see if there is an opportunity to collaborate and contribute.
How can you create a life where you are leveraging on your unique talents, harnessing your innate potential? Having a deep understanding of your strengths and look for opportunities where they can flourish and grow.
My name is Phebe Cho and I’m the founder of Accelus, a new voice in the workplace. We believe that the world is changing and the old rules no longer apply. We are a talent consultancy and a coaching academy shaping the future of human potential. Join the movement, and get weekly career changing content delivered straight to your inbox.