Have you struggled to talk about what you are good at? Maybe you have been told that you are a people person, but can’t describe it beyond that worn out cliche. Perhaps you are known for the great care you take in making decisions, but sometimes others can only see this as delaying the decision making process.
Whatever you situation, the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment can help you begin to understand how to articulate your unique value in a way that deeper than the stereotypical phrases we too often use to describe ourselves.
If you are reading this, likely you have recently taken StrengthsFinder and are looking to go a little more in depth. Too often I have talked with people who say something like,
Oh yeah, I took that thing… I never really did anything with it though.
This is so sad, because there are some super easy thing you can do that will move this experience from a “that thing” mentality to something that can have a profound impact on your life. With a little bit of time and energy, you can get better perspective on your top 5 themes of strength, and possibly see new ways in which you can approach your personal and professional life.
In response to the question, “what is something I can do to help understand my strengths better?” here are is a StrengthsFinder activity we do with each client we work with. It will help you integrate strengths based thinking into your daily life.
1. Analyze your StrengthsFinder Results
Once you have your report, the most important next step is to read through the long descriptions. This may seem obvious, but surprisingly, most people don’t do it. They just read through the brief, three sentence description, thinking they will come back to it later and never do. Instead, do this.
- Print out each of the long descriptions that you got with your results (or you can use ours here).
- Using your favorite highlighter or multi-colored pen, read each description and underline or highlight key phrases, sentences or words. What jumps out? What resonates? Use different symbols or colors to indicate how much those things describe you.
- Next, do the same thing, but use a different color, or in some other way, indicate the things you’re not quite sure of. Perhaps you can see some truth to them, but not all the time. Maybe you’re just confused by the wording. Identify the things that are unclear and mark the.
- Repeat this process for each of your five themes.
After you have done this, you may notice two or three of the themes that have more marks then the others. These could be more dominant for you. Even if they didn’t show up as the first or second result, you may be using them more then the others.
When working with clients, we will go through a more formal process of this we call our ThemePrint Activity.
2. Look for Recent Examples of Strength
Once you’re done analyzing, write down five to ten recent examples for each theme. Sometimes this can be difficult for people – we are often are own worst critics. It can be hard to think about our own examples of brilliance.
As you do this, here are three prompts that may help you find examples. Answer the questions, how do you…
- Communicate? How do you see your strengths come out when you communicate a message? What is your desired outcome in how you share information with others?
- Making Decisions? How do you see your strengths at work in the way you make decisions? Do you make them quick or slow? With lots of information, or as little as possible?
- Think about time? How do your strengths come out in relation to time? Are you long term or short term focused? Inspired by today, tomorrow or yesterday?
- Relate to Others? Who were the last five people you interacted with? However brief, can you see how your themes played out in those interactions? How?
Finding areas where you have the ability to do what you do best might be difficult. By looking for things in your everyday life, you may be able to see how you can play to your strengths most of the time.
What Brings You Life?
Strengths development is a life long process. The more you look for examples, the more you will find ways to use your strengths. Share your results with others. Have your entire team (or family) take StrengthsFinder. Buy them coffee and talk about what you see in each other.
You’ll be amazed how the philosophy behind StrengthsFinder positively shapes the direction of your life.