There are so many times when strengths serve as a new language to pull together individuals, teams, organizations and even people from different countries and cultures. However, as powerful as the language of strengths is, not all of our concepts translate with ease. In early May of 2015, Curt Liesveld and I were teaching a group of future strengths coaches from Japan, through the help of translators. It was day 3 of our 4.5-day Accelerated Coaching Program and we were recapping the concept of Name it/Claim it/Aim it. It's an idea we considered to be simple, a way to explain how individuals move from awareness to application of their themes. In English, it sounds poetic and simple. But as I could tell from the confused looks on our students' faces, something was getting lost in translation.
Feeling at a loss, I looked to the back of the room and asked Curt if he had any thoughts. He thought for a moment, then simply said, "It's learn your strengths, love your strengths, and live your strengths."
And that's when everything changed. Each student let out an audible exhale, as if they had solved the world's most puzzling challenge. Curt and I both chuckled, and we immediately wrote it on the board. Quickly, most of the students were out of their seats, scrambling to take pictures of what was written.
There are more than 12 million people who have completed the CliftonStrengths assessment to learn their strengths. But how many have continued the journey? Loving your themes is critical with your own Top 5. But this can also highlight the importance of seeing value in themes that we do not possess. Curt would often say that we need to find a "poster child" for all 34 themes, someone who brilliantly portrays the value this theme brings to the world. Living our themes is about purposefully integrating your talent into your daily actions. As Curt would often say, it is when your soul aligns with your role, when your being is demonstrated by doing, and when a raw talent becomes mature and beautiful. May we commit to both teach these principles around the world, and integrate them into our own practices.
Curt Liesveld passed away on May 16, 2015, a great loss for his family and friends, as well as for the strengths community. It is fitting that one of his final moments of wisdom and clarity was the concept of "Learn, love, live." Curt guided so many of us along this path, because he so fully represented it.
Curt was always learning, always curious. His passion was to discover what was unique and valuable about every strength and every person. Through his discovery process, we all discovered our own authentic selves.
Curt would often say that you have to fall in love with all 34 themes. He did just that, and his love extended to each and every human being who possessed them.
Curt spent every day of the past 15 years living strengths. He embodied the strengths philosophy. He anchored it. He shone his example for all to see.
Curt is the soul of the modern global strengths movement. His soul will live on forever, touching millions more lives just as he so profoundly touched each of ours.
Our mission, as coaches and teachers, is to help move people along in their own journey. Many of you were touched by Curt's work. In honor of Curt and in service to others, consider a specific action you will take today to help someone learn, love, or live their greatest strengths.