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Dangal Style: Discover Your Strengths

A Dangal style coach can enable you to live up to your full potential by identifying and playing your strengths

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In "How To Become A Leader In Your Field" I called out "playing to their strengths" as the success mantra of legends in different fields- Sachin Tendulkar in cricket, Amitabh Bachchan as an actor in Bollywood, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in the technology sector, Warren Buffett in the world of investments.

You probably know other people who are wildly passionate about their jobs and other activities in their lives. What drives their passion and enthusiasm for what they do?

It's a surprisingly simple answer. Research by the Gallup organization proves that people succeed when they focus on what they do best. When people identify their talents and develop them into strengths, people are more productive, perform better, and are more engaged. This explanation has been beautifully portrayed in the film Trombone Player Wanted.

To play to your strengths, you must discover (and articulate) them first.

Regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur, a team captain, or a player with someone else as the team captain, when your team needs a great performance… what is the scenario where everyone knows you can deliver a winning knock? Your team needs to know where they can rely on you the most, where your shoulders are broadest, where you will be most creative, most capable of giving your best: and, of course, your strengths are the answer.

If you can arm your team with an X-ray image of what your innate strengths are (and remember our definition- strengths are activities that are energizing; that you're naturally drawn toward; and consequently, often end up being activities where you deliver your best output) - then your team knows when you are the "go to" person for activities that play to your strengths.

Therefore, you need to get really good at describing what your strengths are: you need to be specific at describing what they are. Frankly, most of us do not do a good job of it. (Here are common examples of broad & general statements in response to the question - Tell me about your strengths- "I am really good with people" or "My strength is getting things done" or "I have a really strong work ethic").

So how do you get to describing your strengths in detail, vividly? I'll share three techniques that I've found helpful when helping people discover their strengths.

One of the techniques is by using a self-assessment test such as the Gallup's StrengthsFinder assessment. The advantage is that it's fast and efficient. The downside is that it's not free (there's a fee for taking the online assessment). The Gallup StrengthsFinder test gives you a report with your top 5 strengths, and arms you with the vocabulary to discuss and develop your unique combination of skills, talents, and knowledge intro strengths.

Another technique is self-monitoring. To discover what your strengths are, you don't necessarily need to take a test. You can find out what your strengths are through self-monitoring. You can carry a journal or a diary with you at all times to capture your reactions to activities and situations in the moment. Any time you find yourself actually looking forward to doing something, jot it down. Any time you are doing something and you find yourself really in the "zone" (when you're enjoying the activity so much that time almost stands still) jot it down. Any time after finishing an activity, if you're feeling a high and can't wait to do it again, jot it down. The key to doing this is that you not wait until the end of the day or the end of week. You will end up being way too vague. Do it in the moment. And through this self-monitoring list, over time, you'll be able to cull out your thematic strengths.

Yet another technique is by getting a Dangal style coach (translation: a strengths-focused coach).

In the movie Dangal based on the real-life story of Geeta and Babita Phogat (played by Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra), and their wrestler trainer-father, Mahavir Singh (played by Aamir Khan), exemplifies what strength-focused coaches can do to set up their mentees for success - spot their strengths and put them to work. Mahavir Singh is able to spot the innate talent in Geeta and Babita and is able to help them hone their strengths through grueling practice, which helps them become wrestling champions.

After Geeta becomes the Indian national wrestling champion, and enrolls at the National Sports Academy in Patiala, her wrestling coach is constantly pushing Geeta to focus on improving her weaknesses -her defence game- resulting in a disastrous run for Geeta on the international circuit, with one defeat after another - from Australia to Indonesia to Russia.

In contrast, Mahavir Singh helps lift Geeta's game at the international level by playing to her strengths. "Geeta's natural game is attack. Trying to remake her into a defensive player would be like asking Virender Sehwag to bat like Rahul Dravid. Sehwag won't be Sehwag anymore, and neither will he ever become good enough to be a Dravid."

A Dangal style coach can enable you to live up to your full potential by identifying and playing your strengths. Because you will be your most creative, most effective, most productive, most resilient when you figure out how to play to your strengths most of the time.

As for me, I am heading home to start a Dangal with my kids - with my 8-year old daughter and my 6-year old son.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:
leadership Dangal sachin tendulkar amitabh bachchan opinion

Raj Biyani

Raj Biyani is the former managing director of Microsoft IT India.

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