“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” — Benjamin Franklin
What makes YOU stand out?
One of my greatest mentors once told me, “No matter how hard you try, no amount of training will help you truly excel in your areas of weakness. You just can’t be good at everything. But if you work WITH your talents, instead of AGAINST them, you have the potential to be extraordinary.”
Great advice from a great man.
But how in the world does one identify these elusive “strengths” in the first place?
Self-reflection hasn’t exactly been one of my strong points. I’ve discovered my talents, like most – through trial and error. Noticing projects that I was enthused about, skills that I excelled in, as well as things that were completely beyond my capabilities. (Believe me, when I suck at something, I really, really suck. Ahem, MATH.)
About a year ago, my business partner suggested that we read a book called Strengths Finder and complete their online assessment. Her thought was that by comparing results, we could identifying each other’s gifts and use those talents to work for the betterment of our lives, careers and, of course, clients.
I’m so thankful that we did!
In reading the material and taking the quiz, I found my personal top five strengths to be:
- Woo “People who are especially talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.”
- Communication “People who are especially talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.”
- Activator “People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into actions. They are often impatient.”
- Significance “People who are especially talented in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.”
- Strategic “People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.”
The discovery of these specific strengths (some of which I instinctively knew and some I did not) have been helpful both personally and professionally. Talk about emotional freedom! I got see in black and white the type of person I was and just as importantly, WAS NOT.
Let me tell you, this type of insight has the potential to change the way you look at yourself forever.
I truly believe that each of us has a unique contribution to make to the world, that no-one else can duplicate. So it makes sense that by improving our natural talents we can positively impact our family, career, and overall quality of life.
If you every find yourself asking yourself the question “What am I great at? What should I be doing with my life?” Strength Finders is a great fit for you.
BTW: Each Strength Finder comes with it’s own personalized code for you to use to access the online questionnaire. You will find that your resulting strength themes are incredibly detailed (way beyond what is listed above) and even include suggestions for how to best use your core capabilities. (For example one of my Activator action items was “At work, make sure your manager judges you on measurable outcomes rather than your process. Your process is not always pretty.” So true, so true!)