Have you ever spent hours, days, months, or even years doing something only to get average results? Most likely, you were doing something that didn’t complement your strengths. The activity didn’t bring out the “real you.” You know – the one capable of greatness. Today’s post is about finding your strengths. This is where your greatest opportunity lies.
It’s easy to get consumed with fixing yourself to become something you’re not. You’ve been told at some point in your life – by a teacher, your parents, or a boss – that you need improve. You need to get better at math or multitasking or whatever. Why?
Why do you need to become a better multitasker if you have laser-sharp focus? Why do you need to become better at math if you’re a better writer? Most of us have calculators anyway.
The reason why you were asked to improve was to meet somebody else’s standard. You probably had to pass a test of some sort. You had to fit in.
Sure, we all need to improve. But why not improve in areas where you’re naturally talented?
In college, I spent 4 frustrating years in engineering classes. I thought that since I was good at math I would be good at engineering. But I hated engineering. I don’t know why I don’t like engineering. I just don’t. When I enrolled in an MBA program and applied my math skills to business courses – I thrived. It was like the whole world suddenly came together. I liked my classes so much that I wrote about everything I learned in The 45-Minute MBA.
The key to success is to know your strengths and become intimately familiar with them. You must know “who you are” and “who you are not.” Being “everything to everyone” is a recipe for disaster.
“Most Americans do not know what their strengths are. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer.” -Peter Drucker
So, how do you find out what you’re good at? How do you learn about your strengths?
One of my favorite tools is the Clifton StrengthsFinder. This is an online assessment that determines your signature “themes,” provides you with a description of each theme, and shows you how to apply your themes to work and life.
I took the StrengthsFinder a few years ago. I even had my wife take it recently. It’s a great tool to help you understand why you do certain things. I often catch myself throughout the day thinking, “oh, that’s my _____ theme.”
Ultimately, the goal is to leverage your strengths into powerful results. Find out what you’re good at and make sure you do those things every day.
The idea becomes even more powerful when you apply it to an organization. Find out what your teammates are good at and leverage their strengths into powerful results. You’ll be surprised by what you learn about each other and what you will accomplish as a team when you’re aware of each other’s strengths.
If you’re interested in learning about your strengths, here are two ways to take the assessment:
1) You can buy StrengthsFinder 2.0 (the book) to get an access code to take the assessment.
2) You can buy an access code to the assessment directly from the Gallup Strengths Center. This is the “instant gratification” choice.
I’m in the process of implementing the StrengthsFinder into my coaching program. But first I have a box of information from Gallup that I need to read through. It will help me learn much more about each of the strengths so I can help you maximize your success.
My goal is to help you build a Life-Plan based on your strengths.
Have you taken the StrengthsFinder? If so, what did you learn about yourself? Was it helpful?
Please leave comments below.
My Signature Themes:
Competition | Includer | Futuristic | Achiever | Self-Assurance
Scott Mackes is a leader and founder of the blog Margin of Excellence. A U.S. Navy veteran and graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Scott’s mission is to help others lead remarkable journeys. Connect with Scott on facebook and twitter.