How to answer ‘what are your strengths?’ so that you can lead a happier more fulfilled work life.

Updated: Sep 30

Articulating our weaknesses is easy. But when I ask clients to tell me about their strengths my question is often followed by an extended period of uncomfortable silence.

Knowing our strengths is important. Not only to land your next job role, promotion or to return from a career break with confidence but also to lead a happy and fulfilled work life.

When you use your strengths every day you are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8 percent more productive and 15 percent less likely to quit your job – according to Gallup analysis.

When someone says "focus on your strengths," it's easy to read that as "just do what you're good at and you won't need to improve." Which would conform to Carol Dweck's description of someone with a fixed mindset: believing that your talents are innate gifts. Rather than adopting a growth mindset and believing that they can be developed.

Dweck explains that those with a growth mindset "tend to achieve more than those with a fixed mindset because they put more energy into learning." In other words, people who believe they can improve put more effort into improving, which, in turn, helps them improve.