Lean & Leverage
How Navigating Your Strengths and the Strengths of Others Can Sky Rocket Your Brand
“So, what are your top five?” she asks.
I’d been asked this twice before in as many years. I actually had an answer; I just didn’t remember it. The CliftonStrengths test is widely popular. When I was first asked this question two years ago, I didn’t have any idea what they were talking about. They graciously gave me a copy of the book and I had taken the test. I enjoy these “which Hogwart’s house do you belong to?” quizzes. Once finished, I promptly set it aside and didn’t think about it. (Typical Slytherin, right?)
Fast forward a year. I’m sitting down with a coach who asks me the same question. “I’ve taken that; I have no recollection of my results. I can find them and forward them to you.” – Which I did, and set it aside with no other thought.
And AGAIN someone asks me later that year, “What are your top five?”
SERIOUSLY. Why is this such a big deal?
Well…because it is. I looked up my strengths again. Instead of just attaching them to an email and forgetting about it, I took time to really dive into what this was trying to tell me.
My Top Five
This explains SO MUCH.
- I am an absolute sucker for online courses, and I ask way too many questions during a coffee to learn about others’ businesses. (Learner)
- I’m not bad at small talk, but I can’t wait to get to the ‘good stuff’. (Intellection)
- I sold products in my website company differently than other salespeople. Rather than ‘pitches’ and rigamarole of bells and whistles, I showed what you can do with the product rather than the product itself. (Strategic)
- I read voraciously. I want to latch on to new podcasts, audiobooks, YouTubers…you name it. (Input)
- Clients would enjoy the process of creating images or websites, but they really engaged when I started giving them ‘next steps’ or making pathways to their goals. (Ideation)
The Realization Process
Actually putting your strengths into perspective (at least for me) happened a little like this:
“Oh, that’s cool. I can see that.”
“Wait, is this why….?”
“Oh shit. I’m not using my strengths at all! Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing?”
“I like his/her/their strengths better. Why am I so terrible at that?”
“Hold on; I can start leveraging my strengths even more than I was, and get other people to help me with my weaknesses!”
It’s funny how sometimes it takes three different people in three different scenarios and at three different times for me to finally look at something. Since implementing my strengths, I have been happier, more productive, made more money, and completely transformed the way I’ve run my businesses. It’s kept me away from things that I would have jumped at in the past to “prove myself” and let me stay the course toward my real goals.
Three Steps To Flexing Your Natural Strengths
1. Find Your Strengths
By all means, go take the test! The $20 to get your top five is way less expensive than the time you’re going to take soul-searching and denying what you find. If you want to get even further down the rabbit hole, you can spend $50 to get your full 34 strengths in order…just to reinforce your top five are often surrounded by like-strengths. (I totally did this when I realized how spot-on this thing is.)
2. Do Some Thinking
Please take advantage of my mistakes. Taking the test and not thinking about it is useless. Start a conversation with yourself. See what resonates. Here are some questions to help you get going:
- How do these results change my perspective?
- Can I see myself trying to leverage these already?
- Am I actually using these traits, or am I trying to make up for not having other strengths?
- If I were to embrace these things and use them to their full potential, how would this affect my everyday life?
I came to the realization that I was already naturally leveraging my strengths where I was. I’m sure you are, too. That’s when it ‘feels’ best. However, I also realized I was avoiding them to some extent to ‘fit in’, and I was also trying to fake strengths to make myself indispensable.
Now, you should absolutely realize what you need to do in order to make everything work, and you should constantly strive to improve all areas, but do not run in a circle trying to “prove yourself” when it’s just draining you.
3. Leverage Others
Great! We know what our strengths are, and we are running toward our goals. What about our weaknesses?
Guess what? There are other people out there whose strengths are your weaknesses.
All the strengths in a CliftonStrengths report have categories. I noticed really quickly that none of my top ten were Executing strengths. I don’t execute well. I’m too busy creating ideas to execute them! Let’s be honest, though. I can’t run a business without execution. So, I leaned on others who have that strength. I learned from them. I acquired habits and strategies from them that help me in my execution. I also latched on to them in my business and delegated when it was necessary.
Want to know the best part of this process? It works. You will always see me with my Bullet Journal. I always write down what needs to be done, and I always introduce clients to my book. “If you don’t see me write it down, it’s not happening.” They love it. They know they are important to me and they admire how I know my limitations and I am willing to take the steps necessary to fill the gaps.
This is the secret to growing a successful team. You need others around you that have varying strengths. If you’re a solopreneur, you need a circle of friends and colleagues that can help you work through your weaknesses. Strength in numbers isn’t all about numbers, people.
Don’t wait two years before leveraging your strengths! When you know what you do best, and you know who can help you push beyond your normal limits, you raise your ceiling and magic starts to happen!
Let me know your thoughts! Hit me up in the comments or drop me a line on Instagram or LinkedIn. YouTube channel drops August 19th! If you found this helpful, follow me for more on branding, content, perspective, and push!