Identifying your strengths is the key to doing what you love

Vern Six, Senior Software Developer

Identifying your strengths is the key to doing what you love

Several years ago (22 to be exact), after my divorce, I was certain I needed some sort of improvement to my core being.  I am sure my former wife would still think so.  🙂

I went on a personal development mission. If there was a course, book or video about personal development then I probably had paid to take the course or buy the book. I spent nearly $110,000 in three years on this silly quest. It was an addiction of sorts as I was digging deep within my character afterall.  Why not? I was sure my divorce was all my fault. SMH

On the positive side, I did attend some pretty awesome workshops and seminars. I met some of the best people in the world who are still my friends to this day. But overall, I did little more than learn to “work it” to my advantage in my daily life.

Where is the personal development in that?! Suddenly I had became like the shady salesman who viewed sales as something you DO TO someone instead of WITH someone. I cared only about making myself more effective. I thought this was the idea behind personal development.

Wow! Was I ever wrong. Focusing entirely on oneself is just plain wrong in this “personal development” mindset I had adopted.

Then a friend suggested I focus my energies differently and try to discover what I was naturally good at and build on those skills instead of trying to use my new found communication style to “win” everything I did. He suggested I take a test called the Clifton Strengths Finder.

This was, beyond a doubt, some of the best advice anyone has ever given me. Clifton Strengths Finder was life changing for me. Judging by Don Clifton’s book sales on Amazon, it must have been life changing for many others too. As of this writing, Don Clifton’s “Discover Your Strengths” is the number one all-time best selling non-fiction book on Amazon. They claim to have sold more than 17 million copies.

I was immediately intrigued and bought the book that day and later took the assessment on their website https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/.

What I discovered about myself was life changing and in a very good way. I discovered what I was naturally good at.  Having this clear concise knowledge was empowering to say the least.  Now I could focus on expanding those talents instead of trying to learn new sales techniques or skills that just didn’t seem to fit my personality or beliefs.

Below are the five top strengths this test identified for me.

STRATEGIC THINKING
PEOPLE EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED IN THE STRATEGIC THEME CREATE ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PROCEED. FACED WITH ANY GIVEN SCENARIO, THEY CAN QUICKLY SPOT THE RELEVANT PATTERNS AND ISSUES.

People with strong Strategic talents have the ability to sort through the clutter and find the best route. This is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking — a special perspective on the world at large. This outlook allows them to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, they are able to envision alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened?” This recurring question helps them see, plan, and prepare for future situations. They see a way when others assume there is no way. Armed with this strategy, they strike forward.

ITS POWER AND EDGE

People with strong Strategic talents bring creative anticipation, imagination, and persistence to the groups and projects they work on. They can quickly weigh alternative paths and determine the one that will work best and most efficiently. They find the best route moving forward.

 

RESPONSIBILITY
PEOPLE EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED IN THE RESPONSIBILITY THEME TAKE PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP OF WHAT THEY SAY THEY WILL DO. THEY ARE COMMITTED TO STABLE VALUES SUCH AS HONESTY AND LOYALTY.

People with strong Responsibility talents take psychological ownership for anything they commit to, whether it is large or small, and they feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion. They keep their promises and honor their commitments. They don’t let people down, and they work very hard to fulfill all of their responsibilities and keep their word. Their conscientiousness, their drive for doing things right, and their impeccable ethics combine to create the reputation of being utterly dependable.

ITS POWER AND EDGE

The genius of those with strong Responsibility talents stems from the deep sense of dedication and ownership they feel toward the things they commit to. They are people of their word, and others know they can rely on and trust them.

 

RESTORATIVE
PEOPLE EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED IN THE RESTORATIVE THEME ARE ADEPT AT DEALING WITH PROBLEMS. THEY ARE GOOD AT FIGURING OUT WHAT IS WRONG AND RESOLVING IT.

People with strong Restorative talents love to solve problems. While some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, those with strong Restorative talents are energized by it. They enjoy the challenge of analyzing symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution. They like bringing things back to life by fixing them or rekindling their vitality. In short, they bring courage and creativity to problematic situations.

ITS POWER AND EDGE

Those with strong Restorative talents bring a solution-oriented mindset to daily problems. They readily take on projects that others believe “can’t be saved.” They can analyze a situation, identify potential shortcomings, and make the necessary adjustments.

 

FUTURISTIC
PEOPLE EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED IN THE FUTURISTIC THEME ARE INSPIRED BY THE FUTURE AND WHAT COULD BE. THEY ENERGIZE OTHERS WITH THEIR VISIONS OF THE FUTURE.

People with strong Futuristic talents love to peer over the horizon. They are fascinated by the future. They anticipate and imagine in detail what tomorrow could or should be. They usually see the future positively. While the details of the picture will depend on their other strengths and interests — a better product, a better team, a better life, or a better world — it will always be inspirational to them. This vision energizes themselves and others. They can paint a picture of the future that raises the sights and spirits of others.

ITS POWER AND EDGE

Those individuals exceptionally talented in the Futuristic theme are visionaries. Their emotional anticipation and visualization of a better future can inspire them and others to make that dream a reality. Their vision of tomorrow can push them and others to new heights.

 

CONNECTEDNESS
PEOPLE EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED IN THE CONNECTEDNESS THEME HAVE FAITH IN THE LINKS AMONG ALL THINGS. THEY BELIEVE THERE ARE FEW COINCIDENCES AND THAT ALMOST EVERY EVENT HAS MEANING.

Things happen for a reason. Those with strong Connectedness talents are sure of it. They have a powerful conviction that everyone is connected. While each person is responsible for his or her own judgments and actions, those with strong Connectedness believe everyone is part of something larger. This belief implies certain responsibilities. Their awareness of these responsibilities creates their value system. They are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, they build bridges for people of different cultures. They give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond everyday existence. Their faith is strong. It sustains them and their close friends in the face of life’s mysteries.

ITS POWER AND EDGE

People strong in the Connectedness theme build bridges between people and groups, showing them how to relate to and rely on each other. They help others find meaning in the unpredictability of the world around them, providing a sense of comfort and stability in the face of uncertainty. Putting it simply, their ability to “connect the dots” from the past, present, and future can give others perspective, guidance, and hope.

DISCLAIMER: I do not make a penny from the above endorsement of Clifton Strengths Finder. I simply believe everyone can benefit from it and that is why I have chosen to write this post.