Discovering Your Top Strengths
I know when I first started my working life some 35 years ago I had no idea at the time where my path would lead. My childhood and later school years included a recipe of demonstrating mostly left brain skills and activities, I was good at maths and science and I suppose there was also a smattering of leadership and public speaking skills thrown in, however sport and English studies were definitely not my thing although I did, and still do, love creativity, music and art. Looking back I didn’t take too much notice or focus on the development of the areas that came easily to me… they just seemed natural.
I suppose I was resigned to a view that surely everyone has specialist abilities and to be a more rounded person I needed to focus all my energies on developing those areas I was not so good at… that made much more sense. Although this path turned out to be a frustrating one, you might say “not much flow…”, if you know what I mean.
I can see how easily I was influenced by the idea from society that if I wanted to be recognised and loved I should, and in fact, I needed to be, well above average at almost everything, everything ? Yes… everything, I suppose it’s an all too common idea of self perfection… a sort of accepted level of achievement expectation. Wow… when you think about it, that’s such a heavy burden to carry. I suppose we all carry this weight in one way or another… a sort of Everest backpack as we climb the mountain of our life.
Well maybe now is the time to put this burden down… enough of proving how strong we are… don’t you think ? Let’s just accept that there are some things we are naturally great at and of course there are some things that are not our thing… maybe we just need to accept that what we see as our so called weaknesses are there for other people to excel at… it just the way it is… when you think about it this is what forms the balance of in our life… “Diversification on the one hand and Specialisation on the other”.
It seems we have historically tended to focus only on our weaknesses and not our strengths, and this is reflected in the workplace as well. Why is this ? I wonder ? Let’s look at some stats… over the past decade a Gallup study of more than 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement found that a staggering portion of us are not emotionally engaged in enjoying what we do in the workplace… and might I say, this is probably the same for our life outside of work as well.
The study found that if a person was completely ignored by their manager there was a 40% chance of the person feeling a low sense of self and disengagement, disinterest and decreased energy, in fact it was found that some employees are actually happier if their manager gives them a hard time about their weaknesses, at least then they feel that they are getting some attention and that was better than being ignored ! The study saw that the chances of employee disengagement dropped to a staggering 1% where management simply focused on talents and strengths rather than weaknesses. But the evidence is that business does not do this ! It seems the whole world, and you see this especially in the mainstream media, that there is a tendency to focus on deficiency, negativity and scarcity. Where has the feeling of abundance and positivity gone ?
Interesting… isn’t it ? It’s such an easy shift to look towards our light and start to focus on what is there in front of all of us all this time, our natural gifts and talents… a paradigm shift ? Yes I suppose it is… but such a powerful one. A wise person once said… “Problems are complex… Solutions are simple”.
Well how do we go about discovering our talents and strengths ? And more importantly, what particular unique gifts and skills belong to you ? And once you recognise these how do you take effective action to develop and apply them to you and, for that matter, everyone else’s benefit in your life ?
Well after a decade of research the answer is now available in the form of the new StrengthsFinder 2.0 Questionnaire, Discovery Report and Action Planning Guide. This technology by NewYork Times best selling author Tom Rath features an in-depth dive into the nuances of what makes you unique, using more than 5,000 personalised Strengths Insights that have been discovered in recent years. Of course, there are still the established forms of self discovery profiling such as Myers Briggs and the DISC that concentrate on identifying personality traits and these, of course, retain their significance in the circle of assisting with identity definition and task suitability. The StrengthsFinder 2.0 is however an additional new tool in the process and a great adjunct to established methods of personality analysis… for a coach such as myself I have found that it provides my clients with a fantastic sense of personal value seen through the lens of positive confirmation of self and more importantly the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Action Planning Guide is a cutting edge device for clearly and effectively laying out a summary of focused steps for your talent and strength development and application. I have seen this to great effect in my coaching practice with my clients and have also experienced it myself.
There is much to know about the 34 different Strengths, your top 5 and the 50 specific Ideas for Action that are included in a StrengthsFinder 2.0 Report.
My list is as follows… I wonder what the StrengthsFinder 2.0 will reveal for you ?
Here’s to enjoying the fun and mystery of uncovering more of your true self and talents…