Can you name your top five strengths? If you find this question hard to answer, you’re not alone. Some women simply don’t know what their giftings are, while others know them but aren’t comfortable talking about them. This isn’t about tooting your own horn or being boastful. It’s more about being self-aware.
In my work as a personal and professional development coach who specializes in strengths, I have heard many responses to this question. I’ve heard women dismiss or minimize their natural talents by saying comments such as, “It’s no big deal, that’s just who I am” or “I’ve always been that way” or “Isn’t everyone like that?”
Regardless of the reason, many women feel uncomfortable talking about their natural way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Many of us find it easier to focus on others and to be an expert about our children, friends, family and co-workers. But does that serve us well?
To be strong, sassy leaders of our own lives we need to be self-aware. With greater consciousness, we can appreciate what we do well and make adjustments in areas where we could do better. With this developmental approach, we can continually evolve into increasingly better versions of ourselves. I frequently refer to this process as Name it, Claim it, Aim it!
The first step is to identify. I use Gallup’s Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment as a springboard for a strengths discussion. This widely respected online tool easily identifies a person’s top 5 strengths and provides a customized report to further understanding. It provides us with 5 key words to identify characteristics that you’ve most likely had your whole life. With this helpful language we can begin talking about these qualities that make you uniquely you.
The next step is to observe. Notice how they energize you. People who use their strengths regularly report an increase to their energy, motivation, sense of fulfillment and happiness. They enjoy greater satisfaction and are more engaged in their work and life activities. As you learn to claim your strengths you can’t help but develop them further. Using them in new ways, and to different degrees, improves and builds them up – like muscles that are exercised.
Have you ever heard the statement, our greatest strengths can also be our greatest weaknesses? It’s true. So, it’s up to us to manage our natural talents, to modulate them appropriately in order to achieve consistently great results. This is an ongoing challenge because life gives us new situations to practice using our strengths every day.
I find it helpful to imagine a stovetop with 5 pots, one for each of your top 5 strengths. Each strength has its own dial from 1-10. In any given situation, we need to create just the right mixture of our natural talents to bring about the best results. This is a personal decision because only you know what results you desire. If your strengths are too much of a good thing they will likely overwhelm others, or yourself. When you notice that happening, it’s up to you to turn them down and/or possibly turn up other strengths on your stovetop to achieve the results that you want. Modulating (dialing) your strengths is a technique to aim them in the direction that you want them to go. Aiming your strengths is about being mindful and intentional about how you use your God-given talents.
I encourage you to explore your unique giftings, understand how to manage them as effectively as possible, and be a strong, sassy woman!