Sometimes, it is hard to figure out how to describe your best skills. One strategy that we have found effective to kick start the process is to ask your friends, family and trusted colleagues.

We’ve simplified the process so you can work through this stage in about 30 minutes.

Step 1: Identify the people you will contact

Grab a clean sheet of paper (or open up a document) and list the following categories:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Trusted Colleagues

Under each category, list 2-3 people who know you very well, you are comfortable contacting via email and who are likely to respond. For your trusted colleagues, you have to be smart about who you select, especially if you currently work with the individuals. Make sure these are people you can trust.

Once you have completed that list, under the Friends category, add an additional 2-3 people that you know but may not know you as well. Sometimes getting an ‘outsiders’ perspective can add very interesting insight to the process.

Great work! Your first step is done!

Step 2: Send an email to the people on the list using our template below

Make sure you review our language and make sure you are comfortable sending. Edit the template as much as you want so the email is comfortable for you to send.

Send each email individually. We know this is a bit of a hassle but you want to make sure the responses only go back to you!

Email template:

<Name>,

Good morning/afternoon. I am reaching out to request a favor as I value your insight and perspective. I continue to work on building and improving myself and, as part of that effort, I am currently thinking about my personal strengths.

In the next week or so, can you find 5 minutes of time to respond to this email with 3-5 of my greatest talents and skills from your point of view? Feel free to note them in bullets, sentences, pictures; make it brief or longer – any way you feel like expressing your thoughts will be helpful.

Whether I saw you yesterday or we haven’t connected in a few years, thank you for this gift of your time.

Live your days moving forward so you have no regrets looking back!

<Your name>

Step 3: Gather the Responses

As you get emails back, write down all of the responses you receive on one piece of paper. You don’t need to write down who sent them, just the words they provided. Once you have received the majority of the responses, set some time aside to review and see if you can pull out any themes or common words.

From here, you can take the words and themes you discover and incorporate them into your strengths statement (check out our LifeLine on How to Rock Your Strengths Statement or take things a step further with Discovering Your Career Path).

Colibri Life Pro Tip:

Not comfortable sending out emails, try a ‘power words’ party.

Gather a few close friends that know each other well and, one at a time, have the group describe someone’s strengths. If you have enough people, it’s helpful to have one-person write them down so the person being described can just listen and take in the compliments.

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