Take your strengths to the bank!

“You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you are.” ~Tom Rath

If I asked you right now what your strengths were, how would you respond?

Most people would say things like, “well, I’m loving, organized, friendly, funny…,” but would your answer change if this were asked on a first date? How about at a job interview, or before taking on a volunteer role? Would you offer up the same list of strengths for every situation?

I used to change my list of strengths in ways I thought best suited the context and my relationship to the person asking. Now, however, regardless of the situation I always give the same list of strengths. That’s because I discovered the book Strengths Finder 2.0 a few years ago, and it was a complete life-changer.

In the book, author Tom Rath describes 34 distinct strength themes that you can determine by taking a simple online assessment. In the last decade, more than 10 million people have taken the StrengthsFinder assessment.

Okay, but what IS a strength?

Rath defines a strength as “the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance.” It is also the sum of your talent, knowledge, and experience. If talent is your natural way of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, then knowledge is having awareness of your talents and how to use them in the world. Experience, then, is the result of time spent developing, honing, and improving upon your talents to increasing your knowledge of them.

Why is knowing my strengths so important?

  1. You’re more involved. The assessment is used in many workplaces and businesses because, as Rath writes, people who use their strengths at work each day are much more engaged (up to six times more than when they don’t).
  2. You get to be amazing. We all know it’s smarter to reinforce our strengths than work on our weaknesses. Knowing exactly what your strengths are gives you the opportunity to become truly remarkable in those areas, according to Rath.
  3. You play better with others. When you are aware of your own strengths and those of the people around you – family, colleagues, and clients – it becomes easier to communicate with and support them. As a result, productivity, happiness, and mutual satisfaction with projects will increase.
  4. You can fill the gaps. Maybe you’re a micro detail-oriented person, and you could use someone on your team with a broader scope to help you see the forest for the trees. When you know your strengths, and the strengths of your team, it’s easy to turn to the right people for support when you need it.

So what do you do with the StrengthsFinder information? Well, one of my strengths is individualization. I’m intrigued by the differences in every person I meet, and I’ve always excelled at seeing people as individuals. I really get people; who they are, and what makes them tick. It means I’m great at picking the perfect gift, and that I naturally cultivate team environments where everyone feels safe, seen, and valued. When I became aware of this talent through the StrengthsFinder, I was able to focus on developing new ways to work effectively with people in my Well Loved Woman programs. It also confirmed for me that coaching is exactly where I need to be.

How do I discover my strengths?

Purchase the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book at bookstores or online. Then, use the access code at the end of the book to take the online assessment. You’ll receive your 5 strengths immediately. Why are you still waiting to learn your strengths? Take a peek at the 34 StrengthsFinder themes!

What are your signature themes? I’d love to hear from you how finding them has impacted your work or your life!

Posted on September 11, 2015 at 3:00 am

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