The Secret to Strengths

Did you ever feel completely at home doing something? Fully immersed, fully energised, fully involved and really enjoying yourself. Close your eyes for a moment and see if you can connect to those feelings, if those memories come back to you. When you feel like this you’re in flow. You’re tapping into your inner strengths.

At school, there’s a lot of emphasis on IQ; we’re told that we’re smart or dumb and guided in a particular direction based on what those around us think of our intelligence. But how useful is this way of steering people really?

IQ tends to focus on language, spatial relations, memory and logical reasoning; all important factors for performance, but are they sufficient? And, as job-seekers, should performance even be our number 1 priority? What about happiness?

50% of people globally want to change jobs, 25% see work as the top job stressor and only 13% of the global workforce are actively engaged. However, a recent study by Gallup found that when people play to their strengths, they are 6 times more likely to be engaged at work. The study also found that the more hours per day people play to their strengths, the happier, more respected, more energised and more receptive to learning they are. 

For author Daniel Pink, having ‘mastery’ over your work is one of the three keys to job satisfaction. So, if you’re wondering what job is right for you, your strengths are worth a closer look.     

Ken Robinson said it best when he reasoned that the real question should not be ‘How smart are you?’ but ‘How are you Smart?’ In the 1980s, the psychologist Howard Gardner put forward the theory of Multiple Intelligences. He identified that people have strengths in different areas, which could include linguistic, musical, logical, bodily-kinaesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, spatial or naturalistic.

Take a look at the graph below and consider which of these strengths most resonates with you? Are you musical? good with language? good with people? good with logic? What makes you feel most alive, most energised, most competent?

MI Pie Chart.gif


When you have a sense of the Multiple Intelligences that are strongest for you, read through the lists below and determine which sub-strengths you have. Choose your top 5-10 overall.

Interpersonal Strengths

  • Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions
  • Instructing/Teaching
  • Diplomacy
  • Persuading
  • Team Working and Cooperating
  • Leading Others
  • Having Concern for Others
  • Understanding Others
  • Active Listening

Intrapersonal Strengths

  • Open to Change
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Managing own Emotions
  • Self-Development
  • Hard Working and Persevering
  • Independence
  • Initiative
  • Managing Stress

Musical- Rhythmical Strengths

  • Singing
  • Playing an Instrument


  • Visualising in Your Mind
  • Spatial Orientation
  • Eye for Colour
  • Memory


  • Understanding Complex Speech
  • Articulating Yourself in Words
  • Interpreting Complex Text
  • Articulating yourself in Writing

Logical/Mathematical Strengths

  • Quick and Logical Thinking (High IQ)
  • Mathematical Reasoning
  • Complex Problem Solving

Bodily-Kinaesthetic Strengths

  • Motor Control
  • Flexibility
  • Stamina
  • Strength
  • Balance


Now, starting with the first sub-strength, and then repeating for the others, think of a situation when you used this strength to achieve something or to do something that was valuable to others.

Then, on a blank piece of paper or a Word document...Write your answers:

  • What was the background or the situation where you used this strength?
  • What was the particular challenge you were trying to overcome or task your were trying to achieve?
  • What specifically did you do- how exactly did you utilise this strength?
  • What was the result?

You now have a killer formula for answering interview questions and are starting to build your own value proposition (the combination of attributes that make you unique and a great hire!). Keep this information safe because soon, Budding will be releasing an app that will allow you to use this information to land your dream job. Stay tuned!


Strength: Verbal-Linguistic.  Sub-strength: Articulating yourself in words

  • SITUATION: For my final year thesis I had to write a 10,000 word essay on the 'Effects of Pollution on the Immune System'. 
  • CHALLENGE/TASK: Not only was 40% of my mark for the entire degree dependent on this thesis but the finished document was to be presented at the national conference of Immunology, and would be read by over 100 top academics and thinkers in the industry.
  • ACTION: I split my thesis into 8 sections which helped ensure that my thesis would be easily digestible and that it followed the research guidelines of the association. I knew that it would be read by top academics and therefore the vocabulary I used was geared toward this audience; it was highly technical and professional. I used images to help to break up the text and emphasise the points I was making, so that readers could more easily absorb the key points. I used bullet points and numbered paragraphs where appropriate as I know that it is difficult for people to read long blocks of text.
  • RESULT: I was awarded a first-class honours for my thesis which was subsequently published in the Journal of Immunology. It was also highly commended by several top academic thinkers.