I found Strengths through a great class for writers called Strengths for Writers. And as part of that class I am now part of a community of writers who can talk about their Strengths. It’s fantastic. I highly recommend it for any writers.
I shared to the group the other day an article from Gallup: When CliftonStrengths Attack: 7 Ways to Avoid Self-Sabotage because it’s part of a message I believe in very strongly.
Which is that asking “what’s wrong with me?” or “how can I change who I am?” or “why can’t I have some other top five Strengths, why do I have to have these ones?” is a complete and utter waste of emotional energy and time.
Yeah, sure, there are times when it would be fantastic to have a certain Strength. My brother is top 5 Competition and Focus. It makes him a tremendous sales person, because that 200 cold calls a day you should make when you’re starting out? He nailed it. He wanted to succeed and that’s what it took, so he did it. Twenty years later he’s very successful in his career because of that focus and desire to succeed.
Me? I also at one point worked in the exact same sales job as he did and I was horrid at it. Because I didn’t want to sit there and make 200 calls a day. You could tell me left and right that’s what it took and I would nod my head and agree and then say, “Fine. Not for me. There’s something else I can do that I will enjoy more.”
I moved from that job to a sales/reception job that involved customers calling in for quotes on a car service and did phenomenally well at it because all that required was that I answer the phone, give timely information, and be likeable. It played to my Responsibility, Achiever, and Relator Strengths where cold-calling did not.
Which is all to say that rather than trying to change who you fundamentally are to fit your environment, I think it’s better to see how you can change your environment to fit you.
Don’t be ashamed of your Strengths. Remember that the foundation of CliftonStrengths is that these guys set out to identify the Strengths that successful people have. And all thirty-four of the CliftonStrengths came out of that research. ALL OF THEM. Which means that no matter what top Strengths you have, there is a path to success by using those Strengths and developing them to their fullest.
Let me state that again: All 34 CliftonStrengths are potential sources of success. The key is not to change who you are or what your innate inclinations are, it’s to identify those inclinations, develop them to their fullest potential, and find an environment that lets them shine.
Believe in who you are. Own your Strengths.