Focusing on your internal ‘keel’

By Andrew Carnegie.

What if I told you that you already possess the most important assets to boost your career – your strengths.

Strengths are our inherent characteristics, qualities, or capacities that allow us to feel and perform at our best.

The best way to describe strengths is using the analogy of a sailboat. When asked what is the most important part of the sailboat, most people respond by naming the sail, the hull, the captain or the rudder.

However, it’s the keel that in effect is the most important part of the sailboat. The keel is the heavy weight underpinning the boat, allowing it to stay upright, keep its balance and sail straight.

Strengths are like our own internal keel. They sit beneath the surface where we may not always immediately see or recognise them. But nonetheless, they are there.

Often, we don’t leverage our strengths and instead focus on fixing our weaknesses. However, the science is pretty conclusive: we get a lot better return on our effort investment if we focus on our strengths. Why? Because we’re more interested in them, we’re more motivated to use them, they’re authentic and energising, and they’re the avenues to better outcomes both in how we feel and how we function.

It’s not surprising during this pandemic that we are seeing a rise in negative emotions across people and organisations. We know these emotions really have a negative impact, not only on how people feel, but also how they are able to function.

Leaders who are able to apply a strength-based approach have the capacity to bring out the best in their people, through boosting positive emotions and their people’s ability to function, feel, and perform at their best.

In our Understanding and Harnessing Your Strengths workshop, we explain the science around strengths, provide an online tool to assess strengths and then through a range of personal and group activities help people understand, harness and leverage their strengths for better performance and outcomes, both inside and outside of work.