How to Maximize Your Top 5 Strengths

By Glenda Betts, IABC Nashville Secretary, TVA (Retired), Life Coach

Glenda-Betts-head-shot-240x300We often talk more about our weaknesses than our strengths. I discovered my top strengths years ago when the bestseller “Now Discover your Strengths” by Gallup researchers Buckingham and Clifton was first published.

They identified more than 30 different strength themes and included a code in their book where you could go online and identify your top five strengths. Then, Gallup’s Tom Rath validated this research and updated it in the book StrengthsFinders 2.0.

After learning my top five strengths, I kept these on a card in an acrylic frame at my desk—both to remind me and my boss/coworkers how to best utilize my skills on the team. I have faithfully tapped into my top strengths, which are as follows:

  • Analytical – People strong in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a given situation.
  • Connectedness – People strong in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.
  • Ideation – People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  • Maximizer – People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.
  • Strategic – People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

strengthfindersWhen I recently started taking Life Coaching classes, I was again reminded by my Coach Mentor about how important it is to progressively build on your strengths. If you don’t build on top of your foundational strengths, you will end out on a ledge operating outside of your strength areas. This results in being overly stressed, dissatisfied with your career path, and possibly even losing your job.

When you are effectively operating in your strengths, you are more energized, happier and more successful. You are doing what you are best at doing.

Here’s how you can discover and capitalize on your own unique abilities:

  1.  If you don’t know your top five strengths, get to know them! You can find these in books or an online Clifton StrengthFinders Assessment for $15.00. This is well worth the investment.
  2. Ask yourself: Do these strengths from the assessment best describe who I am and how I best contribute?
  3. How are you currently utilizing these strengths in your personal life, your job, your volunteer work and your professional organizations?
  4. What are you doing to further develop your strengths?
  5. Do you frequently communicate your top strengths to others?

Here’s how involvement in IABC can help you develop your strengths:

  • Share your strengths with your IABC Nashville area chapter president and board members. Ask if there are IABC Chapter roles where you can volunteer to further develop your skills.
  • Take advantage of IABC educational resources. These include an online library of publications, webinars, and a worldwide network of IABC members. You also gain new knowledge from renowned speakers each time you attend the monthly Nashville area chapter meetings, leadership institutes or regional and international conferences.
  • At some point, consider becoming an IABC Chapter or regional officer.
  • Offer to lead a workshop or monthly chapter program of interest that best utilizes your talents.
  • Ask fellow IABC chapter members to review your resume, make LinkedIn® recommendations etc., to best highlight your strengths.

If you don’t know your top five strengths, make it a priority to take an assessment and start maximizing your unique strengths. It’s a smart professional move that will prove beneficial in your career and in all areas of your life.

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