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CliftonStrengths
10 Ways to Help You Apply Your Strengths
CliftonStrengths

10 Ways to Help You Apply Your Strengths

by Jessica Dawson

Over 25 million people have taken the CliftonStrengths assessment. Each one of those millions of people have opportunities to use their strengths every single day. But as the saying goes, a fish is the last to discover water -- this is how close you are to your strengths.

That means you may miss opportunities to apply your CliftonStrengths to situations that are begging for them.

Fortunately, there are ways to unveil the opportunities around you. More precisely, 10 ways that our work with clients revealed. And they all rely on easy -- but intentional -- daily practices.

1. The Healthy Pause

Giving yourself a moment to process a situation objectively allows you to reassess and get your bearings. Sure, we're all far more emotional than we are rational, especially when we're stressed, hungry or tired. But a little time and distance allows you to recognize situations for what they are -- then decide how to live out your strengths on purpose. So, when the situation is new or you're a little uncertain, pause. Then assess how your strengths apply.

2. Capture Your Insights

Developing your CliftonStrengths makes you a lifelong student of yourself, and new insights strike all the time. Capture them. Write your discoveries in a journal, send yourself voice memos, jot insights down on sticky notes -- pick a method that resonates with you. Doing so will help you retain (and act on) what you learn about your CliftonStrengths, which will make the insights more productive.

3. Microlearning and Bite-Sized Education

The CliftonStrengths journey, especially in the beginning, can feel daunting. Taking it in small bites (that is, microlearning) helps. The podcast series Gallup Theme Thursdays has educational depth -- even the short versions -- and you can listen on the go. You can also explore any of the numerous strengths blogs online or follow a strengths coach's social media posts -- there are over 300 coaches of all backgrounds, ages, ethnicities and geographies. Stick a toe in the microlearning water, but it works best when it's a habit.

4. Check In and Check Out

Take a little time -- just five or 10 minutes a day -- to check in with yourself (set a timer if you need to). How are you feeling? Which strength is firing off for you? Which strength is eager to be fed? Do this check-in every morning.

Then in the evening, check out. What did you accomplish? How were your strengths at play? How did your natural ways of thinking, feeling and behaving show up? CliftonStrengths doesn't tell you what you will do -- rather, it tells you how you will get to a particular outcome. It empowers you to achieve outcomes faster and with less friction by intentionally leaning into what you do best.

5. Hurdles and Obstacles

Every strength has a side that helps and a side that can hinder. Maybe you freeze when things don't go according to plan or you get overly frustrated with stalled projects. These hindrances are natural, but they can create behavioral patterns -- and when they do, you no longer operate from a place of strength. Keep an eye out for those patterns (stress may signal them) so you can correct your course.

6. Learning the Story of Yourself and Others

At some point, you'll be given the opportunity to transcend your own CliftonStrengths lens and see through someone else's lens. It's an amazing experience. And when you see another person's strengths in action, acknowledge their extraordinary gifts. You'll fill their bucket and gain insight into the ways strengths fuel success. Plus, you can deepen your understanding of your own strengths: Ask yourself which of your talents identified someone else's, and reflect on how you enhanced your strengths by giving praise.

Take a little time -- just five or 10 minutes a day -- to check in with yourself (set a timer if you need to). How are you feeling? Which strength is firing off for you? Which strength is eager to be fed? Do this check-in every morning.

7. Use Your Reports Throughout Your Journey

When you reread your CliftonStrengths report, you aren't the same person who read it the first time. You've gained new insights since then -- and you always will. Make a practice of reading your CliftonStrengths 34 report, especially the "Take Action to Maximize Your Potential" section. Each action will strengthen your talents. Choose one action, and commit to it until the action becomes a habit. Then choose another.

8. Ask for Feedback When You Can

People who know you well can give you great feedback on how your CliftonStrengths show up. Start with a spouse or a best friend, and ask for their perspective. You'll learn how they see you (and perhaps clarify their misconceptions), especially if you emphasize items from your report. Meanwhile, look for openings to share how your strengths operate when you have a new partner or team. Ask others to discuss their strengths too.

9. Use the Language of CliftonStrengths

CliftonStrengths uses a scientific language. As with any language, you gain competence by using it. But CliftonStrengths also gives groups a common language to describe nuances of thought, feeling and behavior -- nuances that you might otherwise overlook. Use the CliftonStrengths language to increase your fluency and better understand yourself and others.

When you reread your CliftonStrengths report, you aren't the same person who read it the first time. You've gained new insights since then -- and you always will.

10. Longer-Term Goals

When you're operating from a place of strength, you're operating from a place of intention. This is something you must practice. Spend a little time every day thinking about your long-term goals and objectives and how your strengths can help you achieve them. With your strengths as your map to the future, you'll put yourself on the path of least resistance -- and greatest success.

Ultimately, that's what these 10 practices are for. They keep your strengths -- your gateway to performance excellence -- top of mind.

Just looking for those opportunities teaches you to think about better ways to apply the best in you. Still, nothing tops finding those opportunities. And when your CliftonStrengths are woven into how you work, think and live, a sea of CliftonStrengths possibilities is revealed.

There's no limit to how much you can grow your strengths.

Author(s)

Jessica Dawson is a consultant at Gallup.

Jennifer Robison contributed to this article.


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