What We’re Good At Versus What We’re Strong At
We can learn to do many things well. We can develop many new skills.
We do this by practising, learning, and growing from the products of our training, experience and effort.
But there’s some greater gold to be mined than these.
That’s because not all of the things we become good at doing reflect our natural talents.
In fact, we can be so good at doing things that we become victims of our own success, trapped in a dog and pony show of good-at things we don’t feel good about.
In “Now Discover Your Strengths,” Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton lay out this point in step-by-carefully-researched-step. They show how finding and operating in our natural talents—strength building—will accelerate us forward with greater satisfaction, ease and results than applying ourselves to being good at many things.
Buckingham and Clifton talk much about the difference between skills and strengths. Skills and accumulated knowledge give us a framework and set of steps to follow that lead to performance at varying levels. Talents, they say, are innate and grow from recurring brain patterns (starting young) that become enduring. This hard-wiring allows us to do certain things remarkably well, with relative ease.
“How can you identify your own talents?” is a question posed at the beginning of the book’s Chapter 3. Apart from taking the Strengths Finder test (www.strengthsfinder.com), the authors point to four hints:
- Spontaneous reactions. Our top-of-mind reactions and thought processes in situations provide a clear trace of our talents
- Yearnings. Our cravings and desires that appear early in life and tend to be enduring
- Rapid learning. The speed and ease at which we learn, or pick up on, a new skill indicates the presence and power of a talent
- Satisfaction. When we are operating in our strengths and talents it feels really good
So, check in with activities that you do naturally, can’t go without doing, do with ease and positive outcomes and, most importantly, feel really good when doing. Our talents also tend to have a positive rub-off for those around us or those we work with. It’s often the case that others see our talents more clearly than we do.
So take note, because we sell ourselves short if we overlook our talents and strengths because they don’t feel like hard work.
Be your own best detective. Watch and listen for the cues and clues. Then find more ways to exercise your strengths … in life, in play, in work.
This is the art of agency.
#ArtofAgency #ChangeAgent #BeTheChange