Play To Your Strengths
You can be anything you want, if you just work hard enough.
Most people figure out that “hard work” isn’t always enough to result in major success. I could never be a pro basketball player or ballet dancer no matter HOW hard I worked. And yet this is still a culturally accepted myth that I love turning upside-down!
Research in the field of Strengths Psychology demonstrates that meaningful success comes to those who capitalize on their strengths. Instead of exerting superhuman effort to correct deficiencies and overcome shortcomings (that you will never be good at), how about putting attention and energy towards making the very most of your strengths?
Why labor upstream when you can glide downstream? Go with your flow.
Correcting weaknesses is like trying to swim upstream: The fight against the current will wear you out. It’s difficult – and time-consuming – to make any useful progress.
Instead, change your focus – try playing to your strengths – swim downstream. Your efforts get you further, faster when you can use your natural strengths and abilities. When you’re not drained from battling the current, you might just see a path that gets you OUT of the water and back upstream where you need to be quickly and with energy in reserve. It’s easier to leverage opportunities and accomplish more when you feel strong and engaged!
In the workplace, statistics indicate that only 20% of folks use their strengths daily. That lucky 20% are more efficient, effective and productive. More importantly, they’re happy. When you know and play to your strengths, life bursts with ease and satisfaction even in the face of challenges!
We’re bombarded with a societal message to be balanced; to be well-rounded; to labor at transcending our shortcomings. That sounds like “work hard to become mediocre.” Let go of that mandate and cultivate your strengths.
How does a person cultivate strengths? Glad you asked!
Marcus Buckingham (author of GO, Put Your Strengths to Work) defines strengths as the specific activities that you consistently do well and that energize and invigorate you. To get a better, more personal sense of this definition, try this activity:
Take a moment to think about the last 7 days. Recall the variety of activities you did – professionally and personally. Ask yourself:
> Which activities made me feel ALIVE, POWERFUL, STRONG, CONFIDENT?
> Which ones had me saying…
That was easy!
I can’t wait to do that again!
What a rush!
WOW – that time flew by!
> Once you identify some of the activities that invigorate you, TAKE A CLOSER LOOK. Explore what matters most about these activities so you can begin to uncover your unique constellation of strengths!
Once you have a sense of your strengths, favor them! Stop striving for balance–it’s an illusion. Strive for fullness. Intentionally imbalance your life towards what makes you feel strong. Just imagine what life would be like if EVERYDAY was filled with the activities that made you feel powerful, alive and strong.
Play to your strengths. You won’t have any regrets!