Is Now the Time to Double Down on Your Strengths?

Previously, I talked about the power and benefit of doing a mid-year review. And, I got several messages that some of you appreciated the prompt. Cool! 

But I’m curious, did you do it? If so, what did you discover? Moreover, what are you doing to apply what you’ve discovered? 

Even without knowing any of your details to the questions above (though my inbox and DMs on IG are open if you care to share), here’s what I hope you are inspired to do: play, even more, to your strengths!

The reason I’m such an advocate for these reviews is because they are so freakin powerful! And, they are often filled with surprises! At least that’s been my experience. 

My review illustrated how my strengths – a combination of creativity, resourcefulness, communication skills, discipline, flexibility and openness – influenced how I navigated the initial stages of the business, financial and personal uncertainty triggered by coronavirus. Leaning into my strengths led to unexpected opportunities. 

And those opportunities are responsible for a revenue growth I didn’t think was possible, in March at the start of this crisis, without the usual large checks from corporate speaking engagements. It also led to the creation of a new vertical in my business. (I share more about these in a guest post to be published on the blog, Productive Flourishing.)

Whether it’s your mid-year review or mine, what all reviews have in common is that they are filled with a great deal of insight in terms of what they reveal about your:

  • Patterns of behavior – which tend to show up as habits that expose the leaks and opportunities you may not have previously noticed. 
  • Strengths– or that which you do best, and that tends to be the foundation of your confidence and resilience, but that you may dismiss precisely because it is what you do best. 

The certified CliftonStrengths coaches reading this may not agree with my definition of strengths, but I suspect they will certainly attest to the value of leaning into your strengths. And while I didn’t consult the two I’m thinking of in particular (Carrie Sue and Maghan) before publishing this piece, I bet they’d say doing so is important during good AND challenging times. 

And, the winners are…

Can you readily name your strengths? The traits that rise to the top – regardless of the situation, circumstances, or people involved? 

If you’re unable to name your strengths, or tend to be bashful when it comes to talking about them? Now is the time to let go of the latter. And here’s a very unscientifically prepared list of twelve, in no particular, to help you get started with changing the former:

  • Creative
  • Flexible
  • Problem solving
  • Direct
  • Analytical
  • Disciplined
  • Detailed-oriented
  • Strong communication skills
  • High EQ (emotional intelligence)
  • Good boundary setter
  • Empathetic
  • Courageous

By the way, in case it wasn’t obvious, the title of this piece is a rhetorical question. 

Of course, now is the time to double down on your strengths! In fact, it is always the “right time” to fully own them — under any and all circumstances. 

However, in times of crisis and high stress, doing so becomes even more paramount. Because this is frequently when one needs to be more intentional about applying their strengths to the decisions they make and the actions they take.

So…

Are you leaning into your strengths to help you navigate the duality of these times? By duality, I mean the presence of two facts: some people and businesses are experiencing challenges and hardships the scope of which are heart-breaking. While others are not – they are thriving. 

Are you leaning into your strengths to help you make key life, career and financial decisions?

Your mid-year review contains the answers beyond “yes” or “no.” In fact, it can put a spotlight on the nuances behind your answers. 

In & On

Those of us who work as entrepreneurs and small business owners are often reminded to not just work in our businesses, but to work on them, as well. The first time I was introduced to this perspective about running a business was in the late 90s through the book, “The E-Myth,” by Michael Gerber.

But this concept is not exclusive to those who own a business. Indeed, anyone can adopt and adapt this way of thinking to their life, career and money – including you. And the very nature of a mid-year review can help. 

The way I see it, leaning into your strengths is a form of working “on” your life, career and money. Doing so can help you:

  • Remember what makes you come alive and do your best work.
  • Shore up the skills that help you do your best work.
  • Ensure you’re playing your role at home and work the way you want.
  • Confidently experiment and trust that even “small,” subtle tweaks will yield useful results. (Here’s a personal example: It’s common financial wisdom to save from the top, rather than from what is left over. Turns out the same applies to time, too.

    I’ve been using time blocking to manage my time and productivity for years. It’s why my coaching days are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Yet, for the longest, I’d “use” whatever time was left over – the time slots clients didn’t book – to work on tasks like writing, presentations and proposals. Recently, I decided to instead block the time for these aspects of my work ahead of time. And, wow game-changer!

    This week alone I completed two presentations, two proposals and one guest blog post, in addition to serving my coaching clients, having networking calls and doing various administrative tasks. And. I. Don’t. Feel. Exhausted. 

TL/DR: Mid-year reviews are valuable far beyond the metrics they help you track and analyze. They are also an opportunity for you to become acquainted with the strengths you know you have and perhaps begin to understand them on an even deeper level. Or, to discover ones that have been dormant, waiting for you to recognize and acknowledge them.

Therefore, double down on your strengths. 

Your strengths have a way of setting you up for success. 

But also: Acknowledging and talking about strengths makes room for others to do the same. And given the state of well, everything, we need more people making decisions and taking action from a place of strength — or, their highest good. Besides, when you do so, you’re likely to be more productive, efficient, energized, engaged and fulfilled. In other words: #winwin

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