“What if we studied what was right with people versus what’s wrong with people?” Don Clifton asked this simple question and was subsequently fondly known as the Father of Strengths Psychology creating the original StrengthsFinder assessment in 1998. There is a tendency from a very early age to try to improve on what you are not so good at instead of focusing on and developing your innate talents and strengths. At school, you are encouraged to improve on your weaker subjects instead of focusing on what you excel in. What a waste of talent, time and energy. Sir Ken Robinson challenged the effectiveness of schools and the way children are educated. Champion of the creative arts, Robinson’s ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity? is now the most viewed TED talk of all time. Why? Perhaps because his message resonated with every inner child in all of us. Dreams that were quashed, strengths that were inhibited and weaknesses that were highlighted. The freedom to explore and follow your innate curiosities were restricted by society and societal expectations. Working with my life purpose coaching clients, together we focus on their strengths and explore opportunities as to how they can align them with their core values, passions and interests. Knowing your strengths and then adopting, nurturing and embracing them fully is a crucial key to unlocking your life purpose. Over recent years I have focused on my strengths particularly investing time, energy and money in various online tools and assessments including Gallup’s CliftonStrengths, EQ-i 2.0, Wealth Dynamics and Contributions Compass. Although they each have differing approaches, together they have helped me to understand more about who I am and where best to invest my natural talent, time and energy. For decades Gallup has studied millions of employees, managers and leaders and their research today continues to endorse the benefits of having the opportunity to develop and grow your strengths instead of expending energy into your areas of weakness. Gallup’s assessment, CliftonStrengths, identify 34 themes to capture human talent. The assessment helps you to recognise where you have the greatest potential to develop your strengths. As with all assessments, while they don’t represent the whole uniqueness and precision of who or what you are able to bring to the table, the descriptions of each theme are uncannily accurate. My top five strengths according to CliftonStrengths are Learner, Achiever, Intellection, Input and Connectedness. I have a great desire to learn and continuously improve, a great deal of stamina and inner drive and I set high expectations for myself. I am determined to push for changes that will benefit humankind and will often re-examine and question my life purpose. I also have a need to collect and archive and a gift for identifying and helping people to connect. The top five are said to be your most powerful and natural talents. Use these five as a springboard to reflect and build upon to enjoy understanding more about who you are, why you do what you do and why you are the way you are. How do your strengths shape your everyday way of living? My next five are Maximizer, Futuristic, Positivity, Individualization and Discipline. I focus on my strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence seeking to transform something strong into something outstanding. I inspire others with my visions of the future. I have a contagious enthusiasm and I focus on people’s unique qualities. I am also highly disciplined with a preference for routine and structure. Identifying your natural strengths and where you are functioning effectively has an impact on your behaviours so it is also important to explore the potential cost of your strengths on your personal life and in your work understanding any blind spots your strengths could present you with. Having these insights into your strengths and your emotional intelligence gives you a deeper understanding of how you see yourself, how you relate to others and how you manage stress, make decisions and express yourself. Mastering and managing your strengths is a skill in itself however it is highly rewarding and will help you to live a more fulfilling and purposeful life. This week in Focus on WHY episode 223, The Gift of Conflict with Jo Berry, Jo shared how her emotional intelligence and strengths have helped her to turn her pain into compassion and in episode 224, Being Human with Gary Hosey, Gary shares how to use EQ and strengths to live more authentically. Together they each found strength of being human and the strength of a human being. What does being human mean to you? What are your strengths? How do your strengths help you to live with purpose? Focus on Strengths! ACTION POINT Take some time to identify your strengths. What do you do, how do you do it and WHY? Are you maximising your strengths?
Amy BOOK RECOMMENDATION* Strengthsfinder 2.0 From Gallup and Tom Rath by Don Clifton - https://amzn.to/3qpQ3Qk *As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.