3 reasons discovering your strengths will make 2017 your best year yet
By Vicki Haverson – Director of Strengths-based Development:
As we come to the end of 2016 many of us will be reflecting on the year gone by and how we can be more successful in 2017. Some of us will set clear goals for ourselves, others might have a clear vision of what the future might look like or be focused on the people in their lives who they want to connect or spend more time with in the year ahead.
We will all approach this in very different ways because every SINGLE one of us is different because we all have unique strengths. According to Gallup, the chances of us having the same top five strengths in the same order as someone else is one in 33 million which just goes to show how very different we all are.
Whether we know it or not we all see the world through the lens of our strengths. It informs what is important to us, the relationships we have with other people, what we value in our life and what we expect.
Here are the three ways understanding your strengths will help you make 2017 your best year yet:
1. You will understand how to be brilliant
Understanding your strengths and where you are most brilliant than anywhere else gives you the opportunity for the greatest success in your work and your personal and professional relationships.
When individuals are able to use their strengths their happiness and well-being increases. And organisations will see increases in productivity, profitability and employee engagement for their businesses.
People who love their work always have a deep connection with their strengths. They know what it is they have to do because it pains them not to. It’s the things they enjoy doing so much they would do them for free all day long if they had to.
Helping change the landscape of the work place through understanding, developing and applying individual and team strengths is my passion. It’s too depressing to have a world where over 80% of people go to work every day hating their jobs because they don’t get the opportunity to do what they do best every day. It doesn’t have to be that way. Great results never happen when people are disengaged. It’s what I can’t not do because passion is something you can’t hide from, however hard you might try.
When individuals connect to their strengths they have an opportunity to get results they are looking for, both personally and professionally.
2. It will help you let go of judging yourself and others
Whether we know it or not, we judge people based on our strengths. If you have the strength of Empathy, like me, you go about your day putting yourself into the shoes of other people and thinking about how they feel. And because you do that you expect everybody else to be able to care and feel other people’s feelings. As someone with a husband with low Empathy, I spent a long time judging him for not caring and not being aware of my emotions. Discovering our strengths has become the glue that holds our marriage together.
Working with teams I’ve seen a lot of communication challenges because when we have a strength we expect everyone else to have it too. For example, if you have the strength of Responsibility you expect everyone to be on time and to get the job done and to get it right. When you’re managing people in a team who don’t see the world in this way and aren’t as committed as you, it’s frustrating. The person reporting to you, who doesn’t have the same Responsibility strength, might think you’re obsessed with your work and feel micromanaged.
When you understand how you both see the world based on your strengths it breaks down the judgment between you and helps you appreciate each other for what you bring, rather than being frustrated by it.
3. You will learn to accept your weaknesses
When you understand your strengths you have an opportunity to learn about you at your best. It’s exactly the same for your weaknesses. If you understand what they are, through knowing your strengths, you have a superpower.
Every single one of us has weaknesses. They zap us of both our time and our energy. It’s the things we dread doing. The things at the bottom of our ‘to do’ list that never seem to get done. That give us a headache and fuzz our brain when we’re trying to do them.
As I climbed the career ladder in the corporate world I was forever being told I needed to be more ‘Strategic’. The mention of the word would send me into a spiral of confusion where I felt inadequate and not good enough to succeed.
After taking the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment I saw that Strategic is an area of non-strength for me. I’m not a big picture thinker and I don’t enjoy talking about ideas. Because of my strengths I’d prefer to help gather information and make sure something useful and concrete happens with it.
When you’re not afraid of your weaknesses it’s powerful and liberating and it’s the place where true learning and growth comes from. It allows you to be open to the amazing contributions of other people around you and their strengths that might complement yours and support you. When you hide or are afraid of your weaknesses you push people away and isolate them because of a fear that you’re not good enough. Today I actively seek to work with people who have amazing Strategic thinking strengths because they can help me overcome my weaknesses.