Leverage your strengths to best serve yourself, your clients and your firm.
1. Evaluate your strengths, using one or several methods. a) Self assessment. What is it you do well and (relatively) easily? That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard work, but the results might come more easily to you than to others. People often underestimate the value of their own key strengths because they seem “easy,” so they think they’re easy for everyone. In fact, the things you do relatively easily are likely your key strengths. What is it you love to do? People typically love using their key strengths, even – or especially – when they’re working hard. What causes you to become so engaged you lose track of time? Often people lose track of time when using their key strengths, doing work they love. Learn more about this phenomenon at Flow. b) Ask others. Be wise about who you ask. People see you through their own lenses, which may or may not be accurate and unbiased. If you ask a few people and they report the same strengths, however, pay attention. They’re probably right. c) Use assessment tools. You can buy the book Strengthsfinder 2.0, which includes a code that allows you to test for your strengths online. Or call me at 503.913.0499 to complete a more sophisticated tool to identify your strengths and styles.
2. Promote what you do best and love most. a) Speak up to position yourself internally. If you’re not already doing the work you love most, talk with your firm leaders and/or partners about changing your focus (practice, industry, projects, etc.) – immediately or over time – so you can best serve your clients and your firm by using your Highest Talents™ every day. If you have a mentor, consider talking with your mentor first for guidance. If your mentor is organic or unofficial, he or she wants to help you grow your career; if your mentor is firm-designated, it’s his or her job to help you navigate and grow in your firm. In either case, if you don’t speak up, they might not know your greatest strengths and desires. b) Speak up to attract the clients and work you want. Prepare “success stories” about your accomplishments doing what you love, so you can use them as examples or insert them into conversations when appropriate. Contact me if you’d like to know how to develop stories that aren’t bragging, but are good marketing tools. Internally, talk with attorneys who can assign the work you want to do. Tell them what you’ve done successfully in the past and/or tell them why you want to do something new and what you’ve done to prepare yourself. Externally, go where you can meet and speak to your desired clients. Learn about them and their needs. Share success stories about how similar clients have benefited from working with you.
3. Grow your talent. Now that you know what you most want to do and you’re getting more of the clients you most want to work with, never stop learning. Here’s the critical thing to remember, though. Be purposeful in what you learn. Don’t just focus on learning more about what you’re doing now. Always look into the turns and learn about what you want to do next. How can you deliver more value? How can you do more sophisticated work, serve more complex clients? What do you need to learn to take the next step in your career, to be ever more valuable to your current clients and your future clients?
Look for more ways to live your best life in my upcoming November and December newsletters.