There is significant value in what we do outside of the workplace. There are “ah-ha” moments to be found within friend groups or families if you take the time to learn the language of Strengths. I think the Strengths community sometimes focuses only on the business side of Strengths work, but the impact it can have on personal lives is huge as well.
Creating a Strengths Based Culture, speaking the language of Strengths, and approaching conversations through the lens of Strengths, are all critically important to creating a relational and intentional environment where each person’s unique perspective is defended and protected.
But, what happens when you go home?
Strengths teaches you a new language that helps you describe yourself in new and meaningful ways. If your friends and family haven’t learned this new language, no one knows what you’re talking about. Suddenly these “ah-ha” moments are now exclusive to the workplace. Those closest to you don’t know what having the Strength of Achiever means, they don’t understand how your Discipline functions, and they may get impatient as you begin to speak a language they don’t know or understand.
Real Life Examples
My husband’s Top 5 Strengths are Developer, Belief, Adaptability, Positivity, and Connectedness. My Top 5 Strengths are Achiever, Discipline, Individualization, Focus, and Competition. Knowing his Strengths has been critical for me to not just understand, but appreciate our differences.
Instead of getting frustrated that he rarely has a strong opinion, I can take a step back, recognize that his response doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care, he just tends to lead with his Adaptability. If he really has a strong opinion, his Belief will step up. In moments where I’m beyond frustrated and he keeps pointing out the bright side, I’m able to take a deep breath and try to appreciate his Positivity, instead of stomping on it.
My brother’s Top 5 Strengths are Achiever, Empathy, Individualization, Positivity and Includer. My brother has what the younger generation would call an aggressive case of FOMO, or a fear of missing out. I never understood why he would have such an intense reaction to making decisions about being a part of one thing at the expense of another.
Through the lens of Strengths, I’m able to recognize that his Empathy, Individualization, and Includer often team up. These three create an inner dilemma because he understands how everyone involved is feeling and he takes on those emotions himself (Empathy), he knows personally how each person will be affected by his decision (Individualization), and he wants everyone to feel involved, including himself (Includer). All the while he is fighting to maintain his Positivity.
Speak the Language
When you learn a new language, if you only speak it sporadically, you begin to forget it. If you only speak it in one area of your life, you won’t excel in it. In order to continue to grow in your knowledge of Strengths, in order to become fluent in this language, it must be applied to all areas of your life.
I immediately want to know the Strengths of just about every person I meet. For me, Strengths have become a way of dispelling judgement and inviting fascination. I want to know each person’s unique perspective on life and this is one way of helping me do just that.
Knowing the Strengths of those most dear to you could be a component to your personal success – relationally, emotionally, and mentally.
Three Things You can Do at Home
If you’ve just taken the StrengthsFinder, but those at “home” (whatever that means for you), have not, here are three simple things you can do to begin teaching your friends and family this new language and begin to incorporate the language of Strengths into your daily life.
- Get your friends and family to take the StrengthsFinder assessment! You can direct them to the Gallup website or purchase a code for a holiday gift!
- Share your results with them and invite them to share their results with you.
- Talk about it! Discuss your similarities and differences. What did they resonate with? What is still confusing to them?
What About You?
Who in your life could benefit from taking StrengthsFinder, to help them understand themselves and to help you understand them? Are you applying what you know about Strengths to all areas of your life? How are Strengths helping you understand your friends or family?