Be Strong: Strength Finding
At SoulSalt we are dedicated to supporting you to be the strongest possible version of yourself. To this end, we concern ourselves with at least two sorts means by which strength expresses itself: through your unique set of strengths (a.k.a. raw talent) and via your mental toughness or grit (a.k.a. strong will).
In this post, I’ll address the former and leave the latter for an upcoming post titled Be Strong: Mental Toughness.
In such cases we define strength as a raw sort of talent or skill set, something innate and unique within each individual. These strengths can remain latent until knowledge is added and practice applied. And when we begin expressing these strengths over time they can morph and expand just as the wagon trails of early American pioneers transformed into today’s paved super highways.
For some of us, our strengths might express themselves when we make valuable connections between what might at first seem to be desperate ideas. Other’s of us are keen at carving out new pathways of thought, design or behavior, while there are many who thrive at providing structure and stability to teams, projects and individuals. The list and name of your strengths are as varied as each individual’s thumbprint.
Tests can be taken in order to identify your strengths. Two that I recommend are:
Even if you take one of the assessments above, at best it offers just a blueprint. You’ll still want to put yourself into observation mode. Even enlist the assistance of a coach, mentor or friend to watch you in action. Be on the lookout for these five things:
- Notice when you are excited about an upcoming project or engagement
- Notice if when you are engaged, time stands still and you are in the flow zone
- Notice when you finish an activity if you are pumped up about it
- Take note of what you are doing when people say things like: “I want to do that like you! You made it look easy!”
Be aware if a consistent pattern emerges in which you are able to perform certain tasks with world-class accuracy, precision, or results.
Once you identify your set of strengths, exercise them. Like the four-lane freeway system mentioned above, allow your set of strengths to expand. Eventually they can play host to moving large amounts of data, material, thought, action, projects, etc within your life and work.
Truly, your strengths are a gift set by which you have the greatest capacity to succeed and be satisfied with your work and efforts.
Keep in mind that expressing a true strength will never leave you feeling weaker or depressed. So don’t mismatch something you do well, yet despise, as a strength.
Also note that weaknesses will never turn into strengths. A weakness is anything that you do that leaves you feeling depleted, less than or weaker. If we spend effort trying to twist a weakness into a strength, we waste time and energy.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore your weaknesses. Manage them so they don’t end up tripping you up. Then get right back to spending the majority of your time honing your strengths.
One last thought along this vein: sometimes our strength set is powerful. So much so that it expresses itself like a drenching fire hose when a nourishing irrigation system would profit you more. In cases such as these, your strengths might be mismanaged and/or unidentified.
If you sense your strengths are expressing themselves like a “hot mess” then enlist a coach, mentor, or some other competent support system. Ask them to assist you in directing the power of your strength into something positive.
When I use the term Positive Psychology, I’m referring to a framework that encompasses an approach to coaching from a perspective of healthy, successful life and work functionality. Topics utilized include: Emotional Intelligence, spirituality, physical wellness, coherence, personal development, happiness, and gratitude.
Strength- Based Performance, is the term I use to describe how SoulSalt utilizes the research completed first by Gallup Management through the work and writing of Dr. Clifton Otis and Marcus Buckingham. The results of which are published in the book Now Discover Your Strengths. This knowledge has evolved through the writing of Tom Rath and presents itself in Strength Finder 2.0. Marcus Buckingham has deepened the trench with his Standout book and his Truth About You film. (link part one to this…part two as well if possible)