When you have a disability it is easy to focus on the things you aren’t able to do. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that something like “you are differently-abled, you can do anything you set your mind to” because that’s simply not true, disability does mean that there are some things you can’t do but that’s okay because everyone has strengths!
Weaknesses Can Be Strengths
Sometimes things that you think are weaknesses of yours can be used as strengths, for example, many autistic people tend to fixate on small things that can seem insignificant to others. However, in many settings, attention to detail is a desirable strength to have. I was given a task at one of my jobs to separate the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin guts after Halloween and so I focused really hard on making sure there were absolutely no pumpkin guts left. When I reported back that my task was done my supervisor was surprised I put that much effort into a small task and the roasted seeds turned out better than past years. So, as it turns out, that high attention to detail that I often view as nitpicking or being obsessive can actually work for me.
Listen to Those Around You
It took me a long time to be able to see all these labels that were put on me because of my disabilities as something I could turn into a strength. Recognizing these things about yourself is often difficult because we are our own worst critics. However, people around us can usually see our strengths better than ourselves. If you are struggling to think of your strengths, ask some friends what your strengths are. If you find it too embarrassing to ask someone in person for feedback try sending out an email or texting someone to ask them. Another way can be anonymous feedback. As ridiculous as it may sound, you can create a personal “suggestion box” in the form of some online websites and send the link to people in your life whose opinion you value.
Use Personality Analysis Tools
Another good way to start to figure out your strengths is to figure out what type of personality or leadership style you have. Often these tools come with a list of strengths and weaknesses of whatever type you end up with. The Truity Enneagram is a good one. When I took it I got the personality 4 = the Individualist and 5 = the Investigator, it definitely rings accurate to me. Looking over the analysis in the strengths section it says that I’m analytical, have a good imagination, curious and open-minded. By using these words and qualities I can now look deeper into my strengths.
A link to the quiz: https://www.truity.com/test/enneagram-personality-test
Everyone has strengths no matter what you may think of yourself and figuring out yours is important. It may seem overwhelming to start digging and analyzing yourself but here are a few good places to start.