Think of the top masters in your field. Those credible role models people turn to for insights. They have spent a tremendous amount of time building those strengths you admire. Do you want to be more like them?
Welcome to the third installment in the Best DNA Series! You are on your way to discovering the best of yourself that the world values. Last month we completed a Passion Brainstorm. If you haven’t already completed that brainstorm, it is worth taking a few minutes to check out. It can be helpful in this month’s activity—the Strengths Brainstorm.
These two brainstorms are really at the core of discovering your Best DNA because Passion and Strengths are what you do well and are motivated to do.
So why are we focusing on strengths?
There is ample evidence that suggests we can improve our performance more quickly when we focus on our strengths more than our weaknesses. World-renowned business guru Peter Drucker said it the best: “One should waste as little effort as possible on improving the areas of low competence. It takes far more energy and work to move from incompetence to mediocrity than to move from first rate performance to excellence.” Obviously we have to be good enough at compensating for weaknesses, but strengths are where it’s at!
Identifying strengths can often be a challenge. We are conditioned to believe that we are bragging if we say we’re good at something. But this brainstorm helps you recognize strengths as a factual inventory instead.
Like a lot of people, I have been afraid of saying what I am good at because I didn’t want to be thought of as egotistical. For example, one of my strengths is public speaking. Early in my career, I found that I really enjoyed working with large groups, but I didn’t see myself as a presenter or speaker back then. I just saw myself as a team-building guy. It wasn’t until I got into improv comedy that I saw speaking as a real strength instead of just something I liked to do. My comedy and public speaking mentor helped me develop my skills, and over time people started calling me a motivational speaker and a keynoter. I just wish I had the Best DNA tool at that time because I would have started improving it sooner!
For this Strengths Brainstorm, you are going to come up with as many ideas as you can around your strengths. First, a few guidelines to help you define strengths:
- You tend to do these things more easily than many others can.
- You are enjoyably motivated to do them.
- Time passes quickly when you are doing them.
- You tend to seek opportunities to do them.
A strength can be an activity, or a behavior or a skill that makes you stand out while performing that activity. For example, if “Blogging” is a passion of yours. Your strengths under blogging could be “Writing” or “Editing blog posts” or “Designing a blog” and so on. Also consider specific skills or outcomes that people frequently compliment you on. (E.g. “You always inspire me.” or “I’m amazed at how easily you organize complex projects.”)
Hearing our strengths from others is one of the most uplifting activities during my Best DNA Teambuilding Programs. As you can imagine that it is also a big morale booster as well to hear our strengths!
- Brainstorm a list of 3-10 Passionate Strengths. Consider both strengths from work and from other areas of your life (hobbies, volunteer activities, fun stuff you do for your family, etc.).
- Then circle the ones that you are the most passionate about, that you look forward to doing, and tend to want to improve naturally.
- Then choose the top 3 strengths that you want to use more and more. Think quickly. Don’t overanalyze or take too much time. Listen to your heart here.
Give the gift of strength awareness to others! Encourage others to discover their strengths and build on them. Recognizing and respecting others’ strengths can also help you build a successful team/family. Where can you play to others’ strengths to make you both more successful?
Once I understood about natural strengths, I started to hire people who had strengths in areas where I was weak. It improved my business—and I learn from them! I once had a warm and caring colleague who was so appreciative and supportive that everybody loved working for her. I wanted to know her secret. I once followed her around to observe what she was doing. She asked a simple question that I had never thought to ask: “How can I help you?” As simple as that question was, it was mind-blowing to me with my more directive style. People just opened up to her. They felt more supported and did a better job because of it. I was much more successful with her on my team playing to that strength.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the Strengths Brainstorm—and learned a lot more about yourself in the process. Next month we will talk about Value Add!
In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences with this brainstorm. Feel free to comment below or connect with me on social media.