How much more could you accomplish if you focused on your personal strengths rather than your challenges? In a world where disappointing situations and discouraging words from others hit us regularly, finding and using our strengths builds our confidence. It’s never too late to get to know our top strengths and learn how to use them well. In fact, it’s an ongoing process.
Recently, I took a the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment, which revealed that my top 5 strengths (out of 34 possible options) are: achiever, ideation, input, intellection, and learner. While the results didn’t surprise me (I already knew that I achieve goals well, love to learn, and enjoy working with ideas and information), the report gave me valuable guidance on how to incorporate those strengths into my decisions. Just like others I interviewed for a story on the assessment at George Mason University (GMU), I found that focusing on my strengths helped me make wise choices. Reminding myself of what I most enjoy and am best at doing also silenced the echoes of old thoughts that had made me anxious in the past about my weaknesses. It’s just that kind of empowerment that I love to write about in my work for GMU as writer-in-residence at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.
We have to be intentional about thinking of our strengths in the stress of our day-to-day demands, which can easily draw our attention to weaknesses that make us feel inadequate. But the more we purposefully focus on our strengths, the more we can do with them.
In the famous Parable of the Talents, Jesus Christ tells the stories of some people who used their strengths well, and some who didn’t. The people who put their strengths to good use got more opportunities to do so. Focusing on strengths opens doors!
Do you know what your top strengths are? If not, take a personality test and talk with people who know you well for clues. Then reflect on, and pray about, those clues to figure out your core strengths. Once you know your strengths, use them as often as you can! Why not enjoy what you do, while making your best contributions to our world in the process?
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