The One Reason Why You Must Know Your Strengths

I hope you have had the opportunity to discover your strengths through some testing instrument like Strengths Finder 2.0. Highly successful people normally have a good understanding of themselves. They are more aware, and they focus in the area of their strengths.

Knowing your strengths will open allow you to target your energy in the areas that will most likely be successful. If you want to be exceptional, focus on what you are good at. Seems simple.

When I took the Strengths Finder test, I discovered my top five strengths were learner, strategic, analytical, intellection, and responsibility.

If I had read the list of 34 strengths before I took the test, I would have been able to divide the list in two halves. One half being strengths, and the other half weaknesses (or weaker strengths). I would not have been able to specifically define my top five strengths.

So what does knowing provide me? Based on my strengths, I know the following. I like to learn. I like to evaluate situations or circumstances and find the best solution. I like logic, data, patterns and connections. I like to think, and I own my commitments.

These strengths support my focus and interest in personal growth, and daily reflection. Even though I think personal growth and reflection would be beneficial to everyone, not everyone embraces this idea for themselves.

My strengths determine how I see the world, and how I enjoy life. They define my view of how the world should be. I sometimes make the mistake of assuming that people are like me.

You have your own lens through which you view the world. Your view is just as strong as mine, only it is different. You have to be you, and I have to be myself.

Because I know my strengths, and I reflect daily on my success, I have learned that I do better when I use my strengths. The farther out of my strength zone I go, the more frustrated I get with my results. My strength zone is not the same as my comfort zone. I am best when I continue to learn, when I find problems that need solved, and when I can use data and research to support my activities. I also do best when I have time to think about my work, not just do it.

Recently I have been trying to reduce the scope of my activities to really focus on my strengths. It has increased my success, my energy, and improved my attitude. I am more excited now about the future. If you know your strengths, find a way to leverage them. If you don’t know them, grab a copy of Strengths Finder 2.0.

Understanding the Gap of Intention: Know Yourself

We have dreams. We want to achieve our goals. At times we actively pursue them, and at other times, they remain as only ideas.

Most of us face a gap between our intent and our actions. We struggle to complete what we intend to achieve on a daily, a weekly, and a yearly basis. Why?

We are influenced by our optimism, and we are influenced by our internal desire for success. We set stretch goals and have big dreams. But why does it require so much focus and hard work to follow through on our intent? We know what we want to achieve.

If we examine the gap between our intent and our actions, we may discover our results to be based on several other potential gaps. Here are four to consider:

1. The gap between how we see ourselves, and how we really are. This is an extension of the gap between intent and actions. We judge ourselves based on our intent, not on our actions. So this gap can perpetuate the original gap.

2. The gap between what we think we know, and what we really know. We assume we know enough to achieve our dream, but each step requires learning. We sometimes underestimate the time to learn and take action. We sometimes forget to factor in the required failures that give us the knowledge and experience required.

3. The gap between how much time we think we will spend, and the time we really spend. Only a small number of people, who are actively working on their goals, finish their daily action plan. We push ourselves to achieve more, and yet we underestimate the interruptions, and the other activities that demand our attention.

4. The gap between the amount of effort we believe it will take, and the level of effort it really takes. We have to be persistent in our efforts to succeed. When things get tough, we need to keep going. To understand this gap just think about all the people that start their exercise and diet plans in January and then give up before the end of the month. These people underestimate the effort required to achieve their goal.

How do we close the gap between our intentions and our actions? I am not convinced it can ever be closed. We are always striving for more. But we can increase our success by knowing ourselves, increasing our awareness, and investing in our personal growth.

How are you closing the gap you have between your intentions and your actions?

4 Key Ingredients in Developing Your Team

I routinely get asked, “How can I develop leadership skills in my employees (or my team)?” No matter your business, your team size, or your objectives, there are key requirements for successful employee development that apply . Let’s review these four significant steps to learn how you can develop a leader from within your team. A leader who will help you grow your business, or grow your success.

1) See their potential. You cannot develop someone if you truly do not see their potential. This may be the hardest part. You must be willing to see them as they can be, not as they are right now.

2) Show them the picture of their potential. You have to be very clear about what the future looks like. You can’t just tell them they have potential. Where do they have potential? Where can it lead them? What is the opportunity they have right now to start developing this potential? Make it as clear as possible. Support them as they begin to step out of their comfort zone.

3) Create rewards to match their growth. You can’t develop leaders without having a business model that rewards them for their achievement. You have to be willing to provide appropriate rewards for the performance you expect.

4) Align this process with your business plan or goals. How many people do you need to develop? Where will they fit in your business? Where will their new skills and responsibilities drive new growth or new success? If you develop new leaders, you want to keep them. You will only be able to retain them if they fit your business plan, and if they can continue to grow. You will need to establish a growth environment that supports and nurtures your team in alignment with your business.

This is not an employee training plan. This is a leadership development plan. A plan which requires your intentional involvement to be successful. It is not a plan that you would want to implement with all your employees. It is a plan that meets the need of a specific employee for a specific business purpose. It is this alignment which creates the opportunity to successfully develop your employees.

I hope this helps you think through the process that will help you develop key people on your path to success!


How to Use Desire to Achieve Success

We spend much of our time fulfilling other people’s desire. We have responsibilities, loyalties, relationships, and requirements for which we are committed. How much time do we spend on our own desire?

I don’t ask this question in a selfish manner, but from the perspective of our grand plan for success in our life. Napoleon Hill in his book, Think and Grow Rich, said, “The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”

Sometimes another person’s desire becomes our desire. But at other times, we need to know our real desire. I have a friend and mentor who loves to ask the question, “What do you want? What do you really, really want?” Unless we spend some time really thinking about our desire, we may never have the ability to really achieve what we want.

The most significant achievements develop from the desire that resides within us. We need to be able to tap into that desire with certainty, inspiration, and effort.

Even when we discover our desire, we must be prepared for obstacles. It was Dan Brown that wrote, “Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.” It is common to observe this in our own actions from time to time.

To achieve great things, we need to have great clarity in our desire. Desire must be greater than our fear in the required actions to achieve.

How often do you reflect on your desire for success or achievement? What do you really, really want?