An honest inventory may be difficult—even impossible—for you to do yourself.

So sit with a friend and try this exercise. It’s a new twist on something I call the Self-Correcting Life Scenario, and it’s one of my favorites. Recognizing what we do well allows us to apply those abilities to almost every aspect of our life.

1. Ask your friend to name three of your strengths (The words in the image above may provide some inspiration.)

2. Tell your friend your top passion. Then have your friend tell an imaginary story of your life, based on this passion and your strengths. For instance, “You’re organized, creative, and friendly, and your passion is baking. So, you run a bakery where customers can buy cupcakes with little icing portraits of themselves.”

3. Take a minute to imagine this fantasy as your real life. Tell your friend what appeals to you (“Making cupcakes with artistic frosting would be awesome!”) and what makes you cringe (“I’d never start my own business—the thought of bookkeeping gives me hives”).

Knowing your strengths helps you focus on where you have room for personal development. Once you’ve determined what you do well and are happiest doing, it becomes easier to see how those things fit into your life. Here are some ideas for incorporating your strengths

  • Say No – If it’s possible, start saying no to tasks that don’t emphasize and take advantage of your strengths. You honestly don’t need an excuse to say no, but if you’re uncomfortable, just say you have to check with your calendar or your spouse first. Then say no later.
  • Cross Skills – Are you super organized at work, but your home life is a little chaotic due to lack of organization? Why not share some of your organizational work skills with your home life to help you find more joy at home?
  • Keep Learning – If you have a weakness interfering with one of your strengths, identify steps you can take for improvement. 

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