Knowing and claiming my strengths has been a process of becoming more self-aware. While working with a coach over the years, I’ve learned how to manage my strengths and learned their full power and potential. I believe it takes courage and confidence to share with others what you are really, really good at, without shame or embarrassment. It also requires vulnerability in sharing what you are not good at. The two meet in a powerful intersection for collaboration – where you and I bring our strengths to the table in service of the greater good. Living from this place I have found a sense of freedom and deep contentment.
In order to live ‘Wholeheartedly’, as in Brene Brown’s work, I believe we have to bring our complete selves to the table. We need to bring the power of our strengths, the messiness of our shadows and our weaknesses. We need to play full out. We need to take risks, be open to failure and bounce back in service of our calling or purpose. That is what being fully alive is all about.Unlocking the full power of your strengths is the path toward the best version of you. Click To Tweet
In the coaching work that I do I find that most of us take our gifts and talents for granted. They are so embedded in us; we are often not aware of them. They become the lens through which we view the world – our common sense. We assume everyone shares our worldview and common sense – this is far from the truth.
These assumptions exclude us from developing, from becoming more influential and inspiring. You cannot develop what you do not recognize. One of my favorite quotes that captures the reality for so many of us:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…We ask ourselves, `Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”
—Marianne Williamson, spiritual teacher
The first step in self-awareness is to identify your strengths. The book StrengthsFinder2.0 includes the Gallup assessment as well as several other excellent books that provide a code allowing you to take the strengths self-assessment. Each book has superb yet different information on the use of your strengths. Here are just a few of the books providing a code that will allow you to take the strengths self-assessment. You can also purchase a code at https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com :
- Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton (Free Press, 2001)
- StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press, 2007)
- Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Outstanding Performance by Marcus Buckingham (Free Press, 2007)
- Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (Gallup Press, 2013)
Once your five top strengths are identified, observe how they manifest in your life. To take a deeper dive into unlocking the power of your strengths I recommend working with a Strengths Strategy Certified Coach like myself. We all have blind spots that need someone skilled in identifying how our strengths are showing up. A Certified Coach can help you to identify your talents and strengths, where you are showing up powerfully, where the needs of your strengths are not being met and what is triggering you into the shadow of your strengths. Then, your coach can help to develop a plan for how to work on expanding your strengths, putting them into deliberate practice with action steps.
Discovering and unlocking the full power of your strengths is the path toward living into the best version of who you were meant to be. When you focus on your deficits and try to overcome them you get poor results, wasting time and energy. You end up living a second-rate version of someone else’s life rather than a world-class version of your own.
What would it take to unlock the full power of your strengths? Do you have a champion who regularly recognizes, encourages and coaches [link] you on using your strengths? Are you working to magnify and develop the areas where you excel? Are you seeking greater fulfillment?