How to Discover Your Strengths in 3 Easy Steps (with 10 Great Questions!)

Identify Your Strengths Strong Happy Person

Many people easily reel off their flaws and faults and yet stumble when asked to list their strengths. But to be happy, to succeed, to follow your bliss (and feel more empowered during a crisis) – it’s essential you identify your strengths and talents!

With the COVID crisis continuing, and most of us being powerless to do anything about it, I thought it would be good to have a look at our strengths. Because when we’re worrying or feeling powerless, connecting with our strengths is going to help us feel stronger and more powerful – which in turn helps reduce our fear and worry.

It also gives us something positive to focus on.

Marianne Williamson said, “We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?”

Who indeed? Imagine if everyone in the world played to their strengths in their lives – how would the world be different? Imagine if you used your talents and strengths every day – how different would YOU feel?

So, let’s identify your strengths! It might just be easier than you think.

Here are the 3 Steps to Identify Your Strengths:

  1. Just take 20 minutes or so and sit down with your journal, a pen and piece of paper – or at your computer.
  2. Now answer the 10 questions below. Simply make a list – and don’t worry about repeating yourself. In fact if a strength comes up several times that’s GREAT, it’s a strength pattern and points to a strong strength!
  3. Then, review your list. Summarise the overarching strengths and themes you notice – and if necessary rewrite your list on a fresh piece of paper! Ta-da. Strengths done.

Make it fun: You could do this with a friend, colleague or even group of friends over zoom – or with physical distancing.

Top Tip: Get into the detail. Look for things you normally gloss over – and then drill down to SPECIFICS.

And Here are 10 Great Questions to Help You Identify Your Strengths:

  1. Tell me about some of the biggest challenges in your life? How did you overcome them? Sometimes we take our experiences for granted, not realising that we use our strengths to overcome and deal with difficult times. Even better, get a friend to ask you this question and ask them to note down the strengths they observe!
  2. What do you like about yourself? The things we like about ourselves are usually things we’re good at!
  3. What do you enjoy doing? We usually enjoy what we’re good at!
  4. What do you yearn to do? Yearnings suggest possible unexplored or undeveloped talents!
  5. What are some unusual skills you have? The word ‘unusual’ forces us to think what’s different about us. Take a moment to delve deeper and identify your underlying strengths
  6. What are you proud of in your life? Consider what strengths you use or used in this area
  7. What are three of your greatest strengths? A sneaky question. Using the word “greatest” implies there are other strengths too – and really focuses the mind
  8. Tell me about your first achievement. Even if it seems boring or small now as an adult – this early achievement gives pointers to innermost strengths
  9. What would not be like it is – had you not been part of it? eg. a work or volunteer effort. What did you do and what strengths did you use to make that happen?
  10. What do you get complimented on most? This tells you what others admire and like about you – look for the skills and strengths underneath!
Find the strengths underneath your answers:

Some of your responses to the questions may not be what you’d consider strengths. If so simply ask, “What’s special about – or lies underneath – that?” and then keep asking that question until you identify a strength/s that lies underneath.

Some helpful examples:

  • Do you yearn to paint? Underneath that might be a strength of creativity or innovativeness.
  • Do you enjoy weeding in your garden? Underneath that might be a strength or orderliness, or nurturing or determination!
  • Perhaps you get complimented on your smile? Underneath that might be a strength of communications, leadership, authenticity, kindness, empathy and/or relationship-building.

And watch out for your inner critic or gremlin…

If you notice a critical voice in your mind saying something like, “Who do you think you are?” or perhaps it’s making fun of you or being judgemental, try this:

  • Imagine your inner critic in a SOUNDPROOF room. A padded cell if you like. You can give them some delicious food and water to keep them busy, this isn’t about making them suffer. It’s just so that you CAN’T HEAR them any more! If your critic escapes, as soon as you notice, put them back in there again. Make the walls thicker, more impenetrable – and repeat as often as necessary!

Wrap-up – and Ponder:

Our strengths are just one tool we have to manage this COVID situation and – life!

Henry Ford Scrapbook QuoteNow that you have a list of your strengths, consider:

  • What surprised you? What strengths have you been taking for granted?
  • What could you do differently? Where else could you use your strengths?
  • Considering how the COVID crisis is impacting you and your family at the moment, how specifically could you use your strengths to make life easier?

Finally, remember these 3 core areas:

  1. Connection to ourselves: Connecting to ourselves allows us to discover who we are – what matters most, our needs, beliefs, strengths and more. All this helps us find inner peace and live our lives to the fullest.
  2. Connection to others: Our deepest connections with others come when we connect from our authentic selves – which includes knowing and using our strengths, without apology.
  3. Connection to something bigger than ourselves. How can you use your strengths to contribute to something bigger (and give your life meaning and purpose)? Or perhaps you just want to marvel and wonder how the endlessly unique strengths and skills that every human being possesses came to be.

Eventually this crisis situation will end, and we’ll come out stronger if we keep learning about ourselves. Be courageous and use your strengths!

Remember: “Change the world, start with you!”

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Image of Strong Person With Arms Up by IC Production via Shutterstock


  1. Hawwa

    Very inspiring, to read all this, but how do you bring one to really feel vaalued when you are constantly criticized and put down?

    • Emma-Louise Elsey

      Hello Hawwa, that is a great question.

      So, your values are NOT about BEING valued (by yourself or other people).
      Instead your values are what you THINK. What do you think is important in life? What is important in the way you behave and live your life?

      You might have values of integrity, kindness and health.
      Even if someone is criticising you, you still have those personal values. It is an “inside thing”. These values are still what you think is important in life.
      And YOU can still live those values, even if the people around you are not.

      Interestingly, the people who are criticising you are going against your value of kindness. This is good to know.
      But it doesn’t change the fact that you place value on kindness, that kindness is important to you.

      I hope that helped a little. Warmly, Emma-Louise


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