It’s easy to focus on our faults.
Most of us are aware of those areas in our life where it’s difficult to perform at our best—where we lack the innate skill or natural ability to easily achieve results.
While it’s important that we invest out time to develop those areas that are holding us back, I believe that we are better off investing in our strengths.
Strengths Theory 101
This is the fundamental question behind strengths theory, and the one asked by psychologist Donald O. Clifton, the creator of Clifton StrengthsFinder.
Strengths theory proposes that we will be more successful by focusing on what we do well instead of where we are lacking.
I wholeheartedly agree.
1) Why focus on strengths?
If you find that you don’t have the opportunity to do what you do best every day, then your natural talents are going untapped.
The misguided advice (and our default tendency) is to focus on our weaknesses. Don’t fall for it!
You will gain far more when you expend effort developing your natural talents than when you spend a comparable amount of effort to remediate your weaknesses.
2) What are strengths?
In simplest terms, we develop a strength when we invest the time to master our natural skills and abilities (aka talents).
A talent is a natural-occurring pattern of thought, feeling or behaviour that can be productively applied.
We gain mastery of a strength when we have maximized our natural talents.
3) Why can’t I see my natural talents?
It can be a challenge to identify our natural talents on our own.
Because they are naturally-occurring patterns, they are difficult to notice without external feedback.
When I first discovered my talents, I remember saying, “Doesn’t everyone think this way?”
I realized that no, not every does.
My talents where very difficult to notice because they were part of who I am.
4) How do I discover my natural talents?
The tool that I use with my clients to help them identify their natural talents is the Clifton StrengthsFinder by the Gallup Organization.
Access to an assessment requires a unique code that can be obtained by purchasing a copy of the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.
This assessment will help you identify your top 5 talents from 34 different themes.
In addition, this book will give you a number of tips to help you understand and apply your natural talents.
5) How do I turn my talents into a strength?
The formula for turning your talents into a strength is simple:
Step 1: Identify your most powerful talents.
Step 2: Improve your natural talents with practice.
Step 3: Acquire the relevant skills and knowledge to turn your talents into a strength.
A Rapid Success Strategy
Every Mindful Leader should be following the path to mastery.
The path to mastery will be a lot shorter when you expend effort developing your natural talents than when you spend a comparable amount of effort to remediate your weaknesses.
This sounds like a rapid success strategy to me.
If you would like to learn how to leverage your strengths and more about mindful leadership, simply head over to www.learn2lead.co and sign-up for my free online training called The 31 Lessons of Mindful Leadership.