what we're reading now
follow us on facebook
follow us on twitter
subscribe to our blog
find it

What We're Reading Now

Using Your Strengths

21 December 2021

Janie re-read Strengthsfinder 2.0: Discover your CliftonStrengths from Gallup and Tom Rath and considered ways to focus more energy on her strengths.  

Tags: janie read, self-talk

Earlier this month, one of the training programs that I support had a session about talent management and career planning. Our speaker talked about the importance of knowing yourself and knowing what you’re good at. He emphasized that when you know what you’re good at, it’s easier to play to your strengths and align your work with what you enjoy doing. He also discussed the importance of honest self-assessment and self-development for continuous learning and growth.  

I’ve thought about this session quite a bit over the past few weeks. Honest self-assessment is something I think I’m pretty good at, but my tendency is always to focus on my weaknesses rather than my strengths. As I reflected on the session, I was reminded of an assessment called CliftonStrengths™ that I took a few years ago, which is focused on understanding your strengths. I was inspired to re-read my report and the relevant content from Strengthsfinder 2.0: Discover your CliftonStrengths from Gallup and Tom Rath. 

If you’re not familiar with this assessment, there are 34 strengths which are divided into four domains.  Most of my strengths are in the relationship building domain. I love supporting others, helping people meet their goals, and working behind the scenes to make things run more smoothly. My preference is to stay in the background. I’ve never been someone who enjoyed being in the spotlight, but I love helping other people get there. Thinking about strengths generally can help us find more satisfaction in our work, and it’s easy to see how my strengths in supporting others and building relationships are aligned with things I do every day.

As I consider my goals for 2022, I’ve been reflecting on some of the ways my self-development came in fits and starts this past year and thinking about how to make steadier progress. One of the ways Gallup suggests people use their strengths is to focus on them when they face obstacles or are feeling “stuck” on a problem. They recommend three easy-to-remember steps.

  1. Name it. This means identifying your strengths, whether using an assessment like Gallup’s, by seeking feedback from others, or by reflecting on your own. I went back to read my CliftonStrengths assessment and one of the notes said, “You notice and appreciate each person’s unique characteristics, and you don’t treat everyone the same. Because you can see what makes each individual unique, you know how to bring out their best.”
  2. Claim it. This means recognizing how you use your strengths and taking pride in the things that you do really well. It’s easy for me to help other people see the best in themselves. In fact, I often spend time talking with friends and colleagues to help them see themselves in a more positive light. 
  3. Aim it. This means deliberately using your strengths to overcome a challenge. Once I recognized my strengths bringing out the best in others, I realized I can turn this around and use this ability for my own self-development. To do this, I’d spend time consciously thinking about what I do when I'm at my best and actively encouraging myself to do those things more frequently.

One place I plan to focus on aiming my strengths is through my self-talk. I’ve realized that the ways I sometimes talk to myself are not at all what I’d say to a colleague to help bring out her best. For the past week, I’ve been trying to pay close attention to this. When I find myself saying negative things, I try to recognize it and ask myself, “Would you say that to your friend?” If the answer is no, then I probably shouldn’t say it to myself either. I know this is something that is going to require a lot of practice, but I’ve already found that working to curb my negative self-talk has helped me be more productive and has made me feel more confident. Since I know my natural preference is always to support and help others, I have to remind myself that it’s just as important to take the time to support and develop myself. That’s putting my strengths to work.


Our Comment Policy:

Our blog posts are only half of the conversation. What our readers have to say is equally important to us, and we're grateful for all the comments that continue the dialog.

To ensure that the discussion here is as useful as possible to all of our readers, please be respectful of our contributors and refrain from harassing, threatening and/or vulgar language. We reserve the right to screen and remove any comments from the site. If you have a question about a comment or want to discuss our policy, please contact us. We'll talk it over.

There are no comments for this entry yet.


Leave a comment



Notify me of follow-up comments?

Enter the characters you see below:

« Return to What We're Reading Now