“The best way to get ahead in your career and be satisfied in your job is to focus on developing your strengths.”
“Our studies indicate that people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.” –Tom Rath and Markus Buckingham
There is more and more research showing that the people are the most successful in life are the ones that focus on growing and developing in the area of their strengths.
I was listening to John Maxwell one day and he talked about the book, “Strength Finders 2.0” which is the sequel to “Now Discover Your Strengths”. John makes everyone that joins his team read the book and take the test. He wants to know the strengths of those who work for him so he can energize them and put them where they are most effective.
As a result, I got the book, and took the assessment! It was an extremely eye-opening experience. I’ve listed my top 5 strengths below.
Too many people focus on their weaknesses in life. Too many people don’t know what they are good at or where they would add the most value. Too many people are not working in the area of their strengths and passions. That needs to change!
I have listed a few action steps for you below, I’d encourage you to go through this process and start developing your strengths!
Buy the Book, Read it, and Take the Assessment – There are 34 different strengths. The odds of you having the same top 5 strengths as someone else is highly unlikely. You get a key-code with the book that allows you to take the assessment.
Read the Report and Suggestions – You’ll get a print out of a description of your strengths as well suggested action steps to help you grow in that specific area.
Evaluate, Create a Strategy & Implement the Action Steps – Evaluate your life. Are you operating in your strength zone? Are you in a job that allows you to? What can you do to grow in this area? Do whatever it takes to get in a position where you can focus on your strengths!
Stop Focusing on Your Weaknesses! – If you’re a 4 at something, if you work really hard, you might become a 6 or a 7, that is still average! Focus on what you’re a 7-8 on and grow and develop until you’re a 9 or 10 which is above average or excellent!
Share your Strengths with others! – Let other people know where you add the most value. Hopefully they’ll help you grow and develop in those areas by letting you work in areas or on projects that require those strengths.
Get Others to Go Through This – Do you have a team you lead? Get this book for everyone and have them take the assessment. Have a meeting and discuss everyone’s strengths and how they fit into your team!
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Here are my top 5 strengths:
1.) Includer – “Stretch the circle wider.” This is the philosophy around which you orient your life. You want to include people and make them feel part of the group. In direct contrast to those who are drawn only to exclusive groups, you actively avoid those groups that exclude others. You want to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support. You hate the sight of someone on the outside looking in. You want to draw them in so that they can feel the warmth of the group. You are an instinctively accepting person. Regardless of race or sex or nationality or personality or faith, you cast few judgments. Judgments can hurt a person’s feelings. Why do that if you don’t have to? Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect these differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same. We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve.
2.) Activator – “When can we start?” This is a recurring question in your life. You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real. Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, you cannot not act. Others may worry that “there are still some things we don’t know,” but this doesn’t seem to slow you. If the decision has been made to go across town, you know that the fastest way to get there is to go stoplight to stoplight. You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green. Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning. You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. This learning informs your next action and your next. How can you grow if you have nothing to react to? Well, you believe you can’t. You must put yourself out there. You must take the next step. It is the only way to keep your thinking fresh and informed. The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done. This does not frighten you. It pleases you.
3.) WOO – Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don’t. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection. Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet — lots of them.
4.) Communication – You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write. This is your Communication theme at work. Ideas are a dry beginning. Events are static. You feel a need to bring them to life, to energize them, to make them exciting and vivid. And so you turn events into stories and practice telling them. You take the dry idea and enliven it with images and examples and metaphors. You believe that most people have a very short attention span. They are bombarded by information, but very little of it survives. You want your information — whether an idea, an event, a product’s features and benefits, a discovery, or a lesson — to survive. You want to divert their attention toward you and then capture it, lock it in. This is what drives your hunt for the perfect phrase. This is what draws you toward dramatic words and powerful word combinations. This is why people like to listen to you. Your word pictures pique their interest, sharpen their world, and inspire them to act.
5.) Positivity – You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. Some call you lighthearted. Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be. But either way, people want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious. Lacking your energy and optimism, some find their world drab with repetition or, worse, heavy with pressure. You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit. You inject drama into every project. You celebrate every achievement. You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down. Your Positivity won’t allow it. Somehow you can’t quite escape your conviction that it is good to be alive, that work can be fun, and that no matter what the setbacks, one must never lose one’s sense of humor.