Guest Blog by: Ilana Herring
Ever have those days where you feel stuck, stagnant, and completely unmotivated to do anything? My suggestion: Read the description of your top five Strengths as outlined in Strength Finders 2.0 from Tom Rath and the folks at Gallup.
What is Strength Finders? ®
Brandon Rigoni, Jim Asplund, and Susan Sorenson explain:
Gallup defines strengths as activities for which one can consistently provide near-perfect performance. Individuals who report using their strengths have higher productivity, self-confidence, well-being, hope, and altruism. Gallup has spent more than a half-century studying human strengths. “StrengthsFinder 2.0” is the book with the longest stay on Amazon’s Top 100. Why are strengths so important? Strengths Finders reports “people who have opportunities to focus on their Strengths are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general (pg iii).” Sadly, “More than half of U.S. working adults overall do not use their strengths throughout the day” according to Gallup. Ouch.
I’m a Millennial Maximizer
I took the Strengthfinders ® assessment awhile back. What did I learn about me? I’m a Millennial. My #2 strength is Maximizer. I like taking something strong and making it into something superb. I prefer this over taking something from below average to slightly above average. I apply this in my work. How do a I tweak a page on a website to make it superb? How do we alter the brand message to make it pop? As a Maximizer, strengths fascinate me. My # 1 strength is Context. I want to understand where the organization came from in order to understand the current situation and future.
Strength Finders is for Friends, Family, and even Fortune 500s
What have I learned about using strengths with others? A month ago, I opened the book again, reread my strengths and walked away feeling energized! Every opportunity I had over the next week I found myself sharing with others that rereading my strengths positively impacted my attitude. I then found myself using it in a conversation with a despondent younger friend. She hadn’t met her goals for the year, which were quite ambitious, only one of which was mastering a foreign language. I tried unsuccessfully to help her put things in perspective. She refused to celebrate, despite the fact that her foreign language skills were much better than one year ago.
I decided to give her a copy of Strength Finders. She took the assessment and sent me the results. I just read through the description of her top five Strengths. And uncomfortable idea had recently crept into my mind. All 34 Strengths look nice. What if I could relate and see myself in her five strengths? Is this just a feel good business horoscope? I read through my friend’s strengths and got my answer. I clearly saw how they described her and how I did not relate personally to her Strengths. What I most enjoyed reading was the section about “Working with Others Who Have X Strength.” After reading about my friend’s strengths, I sent her a note: “Love reading about your Strengths. Let me know when you want to chat about it some more.” I plan to keep in mind what I learned about her Strengths and how to encourage her to recognize her strengths. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep her Strengths top of mind as she picks her career and starts college.
Gallup surveys ask: “About how many hours out of the day yesterday were you able to use your strengths to do what you do best?” What if we could? What if everyone in your family or on your team appreciated one another’s Strengths and how to best work with others with those Strengths? I’m convinced we could do amazing things if we all start asking this of ourselves, our friends and our organizations!