When you focus on your strengths, it makes all of the difference in performance and happiness. As a General Sales Manager at Clear Channel Radio, I was fortunate to participate in wonderful training programs. One program was called Discover Your Strengths by the Gallop Organization. (The link goes to the book of the same title.) It was a two day workshop where we were introduced to what Gallop calls 34 signature themes (strengths or talents) that people have. The net result of conducting millions of interviews with highly successful people led the Gallop team to come up with the 34 signature themes and then the top five themes or strengths that were dominant.
If you’re not fortunate to be a part of a corporate training program like I was, you can still purchase the book StrengthFinder and take the online survey to discover your five top themes. I highly recommend that you do this. (A word to the wise. Don’t purchase a used book because there is a code that can only be used one time to take the survey. You need to purchase a new book.)
There was a particular manager that used to butt heads with me. All of the other managers I had great relationships with, but this one manager and I were always at odds with each other. When we took the strengths course, I discovered that his strengths were totally different from mine. We weren’t connecting because his dominant strength was Competition. Competition was low on my list. He was wired completely differently from me. As Oprah always says, it was a big “Ah hah” moment.
Until I realized that we all have themes that we gravitate towards, I would find myself saying, “Why can’t people be just like me?” I was expecting people to think like me when we are all unique and are wired differently. The management team shared everyone’s strengths.
After the meetings my problem manager was no longer a problem. We started to collaborate instead of compete on projects. We went on to create some great sales partnerships together.
If you’re saying you don’t have any strengths, maybe this story will encourage you. I attended a wonderful business conference for women put on each year by the St. Louis Business Journal. The keynote speaker was Jane Pauley from the NBC Today Show and host of several other network television programs including her own talk show.
She was very engaging and funny and told us that her sister had read the StrengthFinder book and had taken the survey to discover her top five strengths. Jane’s reply was, “I don’t have any strengths.” I sat there watching her delivering this great speech and thoughts, ‘Are you kidding’? She was a successful broadcaster for decades and an author and she didn’t think she had any strengths!’ She proceeded to share with us how the StrengthFinder book made such a big difference in her life when she discovered her strengths.
For me, discovering my strengths was life changing. (I find myself saying that a lot lately!) I used to think something was wrong with me. I was always restless and wanting to move onto the next project. My restlessness was because one of my top strengths is Achiever. Part of Achiever, well, is achieving! Now that I know that, I can recognize that I will always want to go onto the next goal, but I can also celebrate and understand the drive that is within me.
Rarely are two people’s strengths alike in the order of strengths. When you purchase the StrengthFinder book, there is a code that you enter from the book to take the survey to download your strengths. There are a total of 34 strengths. The survey will give you your top five.
Many times the emphasis is trying to improve a weakness. The problem with that thinking is that it is a weakness and weaknesses are rarely improved. When we focus on our strengths we can truly operate from a position of excellence.
I always struggled with the big question – what is my purpose? Finding your strengths will lead you to your purpose. They are the natural talents and abilities that you can do without effort. When you focus on your strengths, more joy and fulfillment will come into your life.
Focusing on strengths will bring us to Step 5 – To Meditate or Think on Your Plan
Step 1 – You Have to Have a Plan
Step 4 – Focus on Your Strengths
Until next time…. Stay focused!