Strengths Part II – Do What You Where MADE TO DO

Think about a moment in your life when you were in the “zone.”  When you were filled with energy; when the right decisions came easy…when you were truly PRESENT in the moment. During this time you were creative without trying, you felt completely fulfilled.  These moments, unfortunately don’t come as often as we’d like.  What if your job or role was doing that activity all the time?  This is called playing to your strengths.

Many people fail because they LACK SELF-AWARENESS – they are focusing on the wrong things and not going ALL IN on what they are good at and deeply enjoy.

Even this image has a strength and a weakness…is that a bowling ball?

Even this image has a strength and a weakness…is that a bowling ball?

Playing to your strengths sounds simple, but most people do not live in this state.  Gallup Press, who is a leader in strength development, found that less than 20% of people play to their strengths.  Why is this?  Well, life happens.  We go to school and most of the time our parents and teachers spend a majority of the time focusing on where we are weak.  A group of parents were asked this question: Your child comes home with a report card, which shows several subjects where they earned high grades and one subject where they receive a low grade – how would you handle it?  77% of the parents said they would spend all of their time and energy in the subject where their child is not strong in.

Now I’m not saying that settling for bad grades is ok…definitely not.  But in life, investing time, money, and energy in something you are not good at or enjoy might not be the best use of your valuable resources.  Many believe that they can gain the most growth in their areas of weakness.  Well, that is not totally true.  Actually, it has been studied that people develop the most in their areas of strength (Gallup).  Spending all your time trying to develop where you are most weak might not give you the most bang for your buck.

“I suck at 99 percent of stuff, but I go all out on that 1 percent I’m good at.”

-Entrepreneur Extraordinaire, Gary Vaynerchuk. 

The more I study game-changing people, the more and more I’m lead to this simple mindset and strategy: Play to your strength and don’t get over-consumed by your weaknesses.  The most successful leaders, teachers, coaches and managers understand this principle.  They are able to get the most out of their constituents because they look for the strengths in their people and play to them.  This approach helps people feel inspired, engaged, and more valuable…thus increases success.

Think about what you are really good at and love doing within your job.  We all have things we don’t enjoy and activities that really fill us up.  What if you get so good at the parts you enjoy that you create leverage for yourself?  You become such an expert and an asset in your strength that your company, team, or organization (or maybe a different company) asks you to do more of it…maybe even make that one thing (what you love to do) something you do all day everyday?  

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THERE ARE 2 MYTHS ABOUT YOURSELF, according to Marcus Buckingham, who is an author, speaker, and expert in the field of developing one’s strength:

1. As you grow older, you change.  

2. You grow the most in the areas you are the weakest.

We definitely improve and evolve, but at the core of who we are – what we enjoy, our disposition, what we gravitate to, what stimulates, gives us energy and satisfaction, and taps into our imagination doesn’t change a great deal from when we were children.  What I’m trying to figure out is why the vast MINORITY of people spend more time enhancing their strengths vs. were they are weak.  For many, their survival instinct is stronger than their success instinct. Many of us fall into the survival trap of life for several reasons – we graduate and have to get a job; we have bills to pay; maybe you were/are pressured to live a certain lifestyle by your family, close friends, significant other/spouse; and then the cycle continues.  Its time to stop that cycle now.

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So how can you be lastingly successful?  Build on your strengths!  Leverage your strengths! Commit to your strengths!  Life is hard and they call it work for a reason…often times its not fun. You might be thinking, “OK, OK, Collin I hear you, focus on my strengths…I get it…but I’m not totally clear on what my strengths are.”  Think of strengths as not only what you are good at, but also:

  • What you deeply enjoy doing
  • Comes easy to you
  • Makes you feel fulfilled
  • Never get tired of
  • Wish your whole job was that activity  

Steve Jobs noted once when speaking to a large audience that you must be passionate about what you are doing if you want to have success.  If you are not, you will fail because the grind is real; there are set-backs, challenges, and adversities.  Doing what we love, believe in, and are passionate about will help us stay on that straight path of growth, fulfillment, and achievement. Whether its music, investing, make-up, hair, sales, cutting grass, problem solving, fixing, teaching, building, connecting people, serving others…..YOU CAN MAKE A LIVING AND A LIFE DOING WHAT YOU LOVE! 


Here are a few strategies to better pinpoint your strengths and improve your self awareness:

  1. For 1-2 weeks make a list…draw a line down the middle.  On the left side, write down all the things that you enjoyed doing; what you loved; activities that made you the most happy; things you truly excelled in.  On the other side, write down another list of things you avoided, procrastinated, and hated doing.  This activity should help you narrow your search.
  2. Make another list…if money was no object and you were set for life, 
    • What would you do with your time?  
    • Who would you spend your time with?  
    • Who would you serve and help?
  3.  Ask 5 people closest to you to tell you the truth about yourself – what do they see as your strengths…what do they think you do well? 
  4. Check out StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath to help you discover your top 5 strengths here.
strength finder.jpg

Utilize one of if not all of these tools to do more of what you love at work, or start a new path of fulfillment by focusing on your strengths.

Here’s some motivation for you – you only have one life to live.  How are you going to spend your one shot at this game of life…surviving or thriving?  Its time to thrive.  Its time to spend more time developing, enhancing, and focusing on your strengths.  Start today!

Watch one of my favorites, Gary V. talk about playing to your strengths below…disclaimer: Some colorful language is used in this video 🙂  Shout out to Airam Alvarez for sharing Gary V’s YouTube clips to me several months ago…follow her on IG & FB – she posts great stuff!

G Disain