Success Through Strengths

Posted on : 06-06-2006 | By : Lynn | In : Career Stuff, Uncategorized


What comes to your mind when you hear/read the word “strength”?  For me, a strength is something you do well, you do it alot and you enjoy doing it.  What is the distinction between a skill and a strength?  I believe that a strength is something you were born with, it flows from you naturally and a skill is something you learn.  Some people have strengths that help them learn some skills very well. For instance, some of my strengths include being very sociable, very assertive and very creative.  On the other hand, some of the things I am not strong in include being trusting, amenable and deliberate.   I have learned to use my sociability, assertiveness and creativity to compensate for having a hard time trusting people (especially authority), learning how to treat authority figures with respect and to reign in my tendency for being very impulsive.
Let me give you another example. A Coach friend of mine shared a story about a high school buddy of his who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer (back when they were in high school and took the equivalent of the S.A.T. of today, my friend earned a score landing him in the top 5% in the nation, where as his buddy earned a score landing him in the 95 percentile. His friend thought that his 95% was a great score!!).   Even so, his buddy was a savant when it came to cars. He could stand right next to your car and listen to the motor and diagnose what was going on with your car and specifically, what part was causing the trouble.  Wouldn’t it be a shame if this friend of his was made to feel bad about his “weakness” of not being too swift with academia? What if his buddy had been encouraged to embrace his strengths and be the mechanical guru that he was born to be?
Our greatest challenge is to figure out what we’re good at and to do that thing that we’re good at.
One of the tools that I have used for myself and my clients is called the “Strengths Profile” This profile helps us to discover our unique personality traits so that we can identify our core strengths and build a road map for success both personally and professionally.  I have to admit to you (remember, I’m not very trusting: D) that I really was not that enthusiastic about learning yet another assessment. There are so many good ones out there (DISC, Myers/Briggs, Birkmann, etc.) but what I’ve come to learn is that what differentiates a good profile from an excellent profile is how it is explained (i.e. via a good Coach!).
The Strengths’ Profile is the “Winslow Assessment” which was developed in the late 60’s by a powerful group of educators.  All the professional baseball teams use it and great companies such as Oracle.   Anyway all this to say that I love focusing on my strengths because I have spent so very many years focusing on what is wrong with me (which in many respects, has been a good thing!).
Isn’t this a good time for you to discover and focus on what your strengths are and how you would love to use them?  Let me hear from you, I’d love to know what you have discovered about yourself.


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