Identifying Your Strengths

One of the secrets of success in independent practice is making the most of your strengths. First, though, you have to determine what your strengths really are – and that may not always be obvious in practice. One of the first things I offer to do for my consulting clients is to try and look at their potential strengths as an ‘outsider’.

Your strengths develop from a variety of sources: natural ability and aptitude, formal education, your experience, your research and interests, your hobbies, volunteer involvement, and so on.

You could also take advantage of some of the aptitude tests to determine your strengths, weaknesses and hidden talents. You can find tests online that can help too.

In my opinion, the 14 most essential skills for a successful independent practice owner are:

  1. Communication Skills (listening, verbal, and written)
  2. Clinical Skills
  3. Analytical Skills
  4. Delegation
  5. Adaptability
  6. Managing Multiple Priorities/Project Management
  7. Interpersonal Abilities
  8. Leadership/Management Skills
  9. Teamwork
  10. Planning/Organising
  11. Problem Solving
  12. Computer Literacy
  13. Marketing Skills
  14. Entrepreneurial Skills

Give yourself an honest mark out of 10 for each of these skills above – if your total score is over 5 in each area and your total is greater than 98, you’re we’ll on the way to being a “strategic practice owner”.

In my opinion, It’s genuinely tough for anyone to honestly possess all 14 most essential skills, especially for someone who may have just recently become an eye care professional and independent practice owner, but the chances are, your past experiences and passions will help lend themselves to at least developing powerful specific areas of strength. Home in on the skills that make you special by looking for these clues:

  • What tasks attract you? Think of the types of work that you look forward to in practice that you’d find some way to do (even if you weren’t paid). If you are passionate about a specific area of practice work, that’s a good springboard as well too.
  • What tasks do you immerse yourself in? When you’re involved on certain tasks, do you forget what time it is or how long you’ve been working at them? These will usually be the jobs that use your skill sets the best.
  • What do you learn quickly? You probably struggle with mastering some skills, but others you pick up effortlessly. That’s because you have some natural talent and a deep desire to learn more. Don’t stop learning when you finish college or university. Be a lifelong learner.
  • What do other people ask for help with? Pay attention to the jobs you’re assigned and the favours people and colleagues ask you for. They wouldn’t come to you if you weren’t good in those areas.
  • Where do you succeed? This may seem obvious, but some people miss the ‘forest for the trees’. Take a look at the tasks you’ve done best; they’ll use your most important skills. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. What you are best at is not necessarily what you spend the most time doing.
  • What brings you satisfaction? No matter how tired you are, some tasks make you feel good at the end of the day. You’ll do better in life and on the job by concentrating on work that you find fulfilling.

When you do what you love – you’ll love what you do & you’ll start working from a position of strength and in time, you can isolate and work in your practice from your “sweet spot.” When you achieve this, you’ll have moved closer to becoming a strategic practice owner and the bonus is – you’ll never really do another day’s ‘work’ in your life!

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