Article, Potential – uncovering other hidden talents, audience & competitors by Paul Coppcutt :

Step 3 – Understanding More About Yourself
by Paul Copcutt

Step 3 – Potential – uncovering other hidden talents

How often do you take time to reflect on your strengths?

Many executives are very poor at spending enough time on their own personal development from a regular review of their skills and abilities, in fact it might only be in their annual reviews that they do this, and those experiences are not always very positive ones.

If you have ever had to endure a performance appraisal the typical catalogue of events can run like this:

  1. Fill in very lengthy self analysis form looking at all areas of your performance over the last year
  2. Seek the input of peers, colleagues and managers
  3. Sit down with supervisor for an hour to review all of the above
  4. Spend the first 5 minutes reflecting on your strengths
  5. Spend the remaining 55 minutes identifying, dissecting, analyzing and navel gazing your weaknesses
  6. Create an action plan around how you are going to bring your weaknesses up to an, at best, average level of performance.
  7. Feel like you are treading water and not progressing as fast as you would like.
  8. Repeat annually to the point of absolute frustration.

Some may view this as either a little simplistic or harsh, but the truth is that only 42% of Americans believe that working mostly on their strengths will mean they are more successful and that drops to an alarming 24% of Japanese and Chinese.

“Now Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton is a highly recommended read for anyone interested in building their personal brand and tackles this subject head on.

Very often it is difficult for you to articulate your top strengths and how they might be reflected in your career to date. With the ‘Strengths' book there is an opportunity to take the “Strengths Finder” assessment online and have your top 5 strengths identified with explanations.

You can then take this information and create your examples, or stories, around how you have used that strength in a work situation. So in interviews you are not only just listing what you consider your strengths to be but also giving reference and context with a concrete example – very powerful and memorable when the interviewer is doing a review at the end of the day.

There are many other assessments and tests that can be taken to understand more about yourself, but it is probably best to find one or two that resonate and make sense to you and work with those than take a battery of tests that are more likely to confuse than confirm.

Another good marketing exercise to conduct is a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. In each area ask your self these questions:

Strengths – what are my strengths, what do I have that is positive, that can help me achieve my goals?

Weaknesses – what are my weaknesses, where am I challenged the most?

Opportunities – if I was able to overcome those weaknesses and utlilise my strengths what will result for me? What is the upside?

Threats – what is the down side if I do not address those challenges?

It's not just enough to be aware of your strengths, take the time to discover if you have other hidden talents either through your own analysis or from the feedback of others – ideally both. The foundation of strong brands are built in part on maximising strengths.

Understanding your hidden strengths and talents to build your personal brand is the third step in the 7 P's of Personal Branding.


Paul Copcutt is founder of Square Peg Solutions, and excels as a personal brand consultant for professional service providers and business owners who are missing out on great business opportunities because they are not clear on who what they have to offer, who they should be talking to or how to get their message out there.


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