Play to Your Strengths
Of course it makes perfect sense. When we play to our strengths we can achieve greater results with less effort. Playing to our strengths is less stressful and we can improve quicker and go further when we play to our strengths. It seems obvious doesn’t it.
If I am a natural runner why would I not focus on running? If I am a natural English scholar why would I not cultivate that talent? I am not quite of a generation where, if you were left handed, they might tie your left hand behind your back to force you to write with your right hand like everyone else. Almost but not quite.
Focussing too much on our weaknesses
However I believe that the majority of my education, my schooling and my life was spent focussing on my weaknesses rather than helping my strengths to get even stronger. A school report that showed I excelled in languages but was not quite so strong in sciences would probably result in being assigned extra science for the next term. Being a great batsman would probably result in me being forced to do catching practice for the afternoon. I was brought up being forced to focus on where I was weaker rather than on developing my natural strengths.
So personally I was intrigued when I started to learn about strengths and strengths coaching, which is a product of the Gallup organisation and in which I have recently become certified.
How do we know our strengths?
It is easy to assume that we know our strengths and therefore being able to play to our strengths would be straightforward and natural. That is far from the case. There is a saying that ‘fish discover water last’ and because we are all surrounded by our strengths we rarely know or understand what our strengths are. I have had people say to me that they have no specific strengths and the most common reaction when we have done the assessment is for the client to say ‘but that isn’t a strength. Everybody does that!’ As I said, fish discover water last. The strength that you take for granted; the strength that you are so familiar with that you don’t even recognise it; that seems so natural to you could be totally alien to someone else. The thing that you do so easily and effortlessly could be the dream of someone else.
Awareness is key
The second thing that people seem to say when they start to become aware of their own unique strengths is very often something like, ‘I used to get told off for that, when I was at school’ or ‘ my friends constantly tell me off for doing that’. I met someone a few months ago who was always being told, as a child, to sit down, keep still and keep quiet. He spends a lot of time telling the world that he finds it ironic that he is now an extremely well paid author and speaker and he makes loads of money by standing up, moving around and talking non stop. He is excelling because he is playing very much to his strengths.
The point is this, until and unless we really know what our strengths are, and what that means we are unable to intentionally use those strengths in a deliberate and intentional way to achieve what we want to achieve.
Of course it makes sense to play to our strengths but there is a lot of difference between understanding the concept and being able to do it repeatedly to a very high standard.
Would you like to know your unique strengths?
If you want to know about your unique strengths pattern you can either buy the book ‘Strengthsfinder’ which has a code for an on line assessment or contact Team Massive Results who can arrange for you to take the Gallup Strengthsfinder assessment and help you to understand what it means and how you can use your unique strengths intentionally to achieve all the things you want to achieve.
Register your place on our next webinar Wednesday 24th October 11am – The topic is “Why Being effective is better than being brilliant” sign up here.