A true story from Nan: I was a pretty good student. I typically made A’s and B’s throughout school. In 5th grade, I came home with my report card having the B’s outnumbering the A’s. My dad took this as a sign that I was not focusing on the proper things (school work), so after being scolded, quickly took me to K-Mart. All my hair gel and shirts were taken away and were replaced by plain pocket t-shirts – for an entire 6 week period, at that time an eternity! This was my punishment, humorous today, but painfully brutal during the hyper image conscious period of elementary school. Fast forward to November 2006 when I heard Marcus Buckingham speak in Houston. He talked about how the large majority of parents would focus on an F rather than an A. No surprise, it mentally took me back to 5th grade.
When you hear the word "strengths" do you think of "what you’re good at" and "weakness" being "what you’re bad at"? How many times has someone told you something was a strength of yours but it made you feel bored or tired after you had done it? You knew you were excellent at that particular activity, say public speaking, but after you did it, you felt small and drained? These definitions aren’t wrong, they’re just incomplete.
What if you thought of a "strength" as something that were good at AND that fulfilled you when you did it? How cool would it be to work on those projects that you have a natural talent for and that got you fired up to study, read and talk about? Only 17% of the population claims that they do, in fact, play to their strengths. On the other hand, what if you recognized a "weakness" as something that you may or may not be good at, but that truly left you weak, tired or annoyed? What if you and your team developed a way to minimize the time you played to your weaknesses? How much more productive would you be? How differently would you treat your co-workers? family? friends?
The definition of a "strength" is an activity that makes you feel strong and a "weakness" being an activity that makes you feel weak. How would you change your day if I told you and showed you how to use your "strengths"? Check out some testimonials from interns and employees at Tesoro Corporation who did just that!
Here are some great resources to get you started on your Strengths path today: